Coronavirus: Santa Cruz County closing beaches 6 hours per day to deter day trippers

ByAlix Martichoux via KGO logo
Friday, May 1, 2020
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Santa Cruz County's shelter-in-place order is currently set to expire on May 3. Earlier this week, six Bay Area counties announced an extension of their stay-at-home orders through the end of May.

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KGO) -- To discourage day trippers or large groups congregating, Santa Cruz County officials are closing beaches from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting Saturday.

During those peak daytime hours, surfers and swimmers are allowed to cross the sand to enter the water. The new rules will be enforced with citations and warnings, the sheriff's department said.

Walkers, joggers and other locals can stroll on the beaches outside the six-hour closures, as long as they maintain distance from people outside their households.

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"Outdoor recreation activity at parks, beaches, and other open spaces must be in conformance with any restrictions on access and use established by the Health Officer, government, or other entity that manages such area to reduce crowding and risk of transmission of COVID-19," reads the revised public health order.

"If people are sitting on the beach hanging out at 1 p.m. in a large group they will probably get a citation," said Sheriff Jim Hart in a call with members of the media Friday.

The sheriff's department has already issued 300 citations for violations of the shelter-in-place order, Hart said.

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On Thursday, the county announced it was extending its shelter-in-place order indefinitely. The county's shelter-in-place order was previously set to expire on May 3. With Thursday's extension came a relaxing of some restrictions.

The following activities will be allowed starting Friday, May 1 at 11:59 p.m.:

  • Landscaping gardening, tree trimming, environmental site remediation as long as social distancing requirements are met
  • Hospitals can do elective surgeries
  • Medical and dental offices can reopen for some preventative care
  • Construction can resume under new safety protocols
  • Real estate transactions can resume
  • Residential moves in and out of county can resume
  • Wholesale and retail nurseries for gardening and landscaping can reopen
  • Agricultural work can resume
  • Golf courses and driving ranges can reopen
  • Fabric and craft stores can reopen to supply the creation of masks, gowns and other protective equipment
  • Educational and recreational activities for children (including summer camps) can begin with stable groups of 12 or fewer and one stable teacher

While the shelter-in-place order in Santa Cruz County has been extended without any end date, Dr. Newel said officials would continue to evaluate the situation and make changes approximately every three weeks.

"Any shorter time for modifications doesn't make sense because we wouldn't be able to see and assess the impact any changes have made," said Dr. Newel, referring to the virus' incubation period.

RELATED: Newsom orders Orange County beaches to close after seeing weekend crowds

Earlier this week, six Bay Area counties announced an extension of their stay-at-home orders through the end of May.