For those eager to break out the volleyballs and bathing suits, the news is good: The beach is back.
Restrictions on visiting the beaches of Santa Cruz County will be lifted on Friday, Santa Cruz County Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel announced on Thursday, acknowledging that the move is a surrender to public will.
“We had hoped to continue the beach closure until after the Fourth of July weekend,” Newel said at a Thursday press conference, “but it’s become impossible for law enforcement to continue to enforce that closure. People are not willing to be governed anymore in that regard, and we want to recognize that by removing that restriction.”
The county’s beaches were closed starting in May from 11am to 5pm daily except for certain water-based activities like surfing and swimming. Lounging on the beach was prohibited at all times.
Newel also announced that the county’s shelter-in-place orders will be extended through July 6. She said once that order expires, the county does not intend to extend it any further. From that point, shelter-in-place orders will come from the state of California. Face-covering orders and restrictions on skilled-nursing facilities will remain in place.
Face-covering mandates have also now been extended to all children over the age of 2. “This may seem stringent and difficult, but it has proven to be manageable in countries around the world,” Newel said.