Coronavirus: Social distancing guidelines broken as warm weather brings people to Santa Cruz

Dustin Dorsey Image
Saturday, April 25, 2020
Coronavirus: No social distancing as warm weather brings people to Santa Cruz
Social distancing rules were not being followed in Santa Cruz and the city worries this could continue with the warm weather. Enforcement says they can write tickets, but wants people to understand the risk of spread.

SANTA CRUZ (KGO) -- Two weeks ago, the Santa Cruz beaches and waters were completely empty, a ghost town, as the county put in regulations to close all parks and beaches due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fast forward to Friday where it looks like the status quo has returned once again as you could see by the dozens of the surfers in the water.

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Exactly what city officials feared with warm weather returning to Santa Cruz.

"What we're really asking is for people to stay in their neighborhoods," Santa Cruz Fire Department Chief Jason Hajduk said. "Stay in your community. Normally we would love to have you come to the beach and love to have you come to the boardwalk, but now is not the right time."

In common times, it's not uncommon to see plenty of people from all over the Bay Area recreating along West Cliff Drive in Santa Cruz.

Today looked like one of those beautiful days of the past where there was no care for social distance on land or on the water.

But still, there are reminders in place that show right now is anything but normal and rules need to be followed.

"People are allowed to go out and recreate," Hajduk said. "But when you do that, you need to maintain social distance. What we would ask is for people to use some common sense. If you decide to go for a walk and you get there and it's crowded, plan your walk for a different time. It's no different than people surfing."

The county is working on different ways to promote these guidelines through education and not enforcement to explain the risk of spread.

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"We have written tickets, we don't want to write tickets," Hajduk said. "We want people to do this for their own best interest and for the community's best interest."

So what happens if you choose to visit Santa Cruz from outside the county or not maintain a social distance?

"I know that Santa Cruz Police have written hundreds of tickets," Hajduk said. "Those fines can be upwards of $1,000. But more importantly, you're risking yourself, you're risking your community, you're risking your family. You really have to ask yourself, is this essential?"

Chief Hajduk wants it to be clear: the weather may be nice, but protecting everyone from the spread of the coronavirus is what needs to be done.