Santa Cruz County is closing its parks and beaches for a week starting Wednesday night after crowds have gathered there recently despite the statewide shelter-in-place order to limit the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
County Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel issued the order effective 11:59 p.m. Wednesday and it will last through the same time on April 15, covering a period that includes Easter weekend and much of Passover.
People violating the order could face a misdemeanor with fines of $1,000 possible, according to the county.
"Unfortunately some visitors and community members are treating this extraordinary crisis as a holiday," Sheriff Jim Hart said. "We are at a critical moment in our efforts to reduce the impacts of COVID-19, and we need to make sure we're doing everything we can to halt the spread of this disease."
Surfing is prohibited under the new order, which also impacts dog parks, skate parks, disc golf courses, and basketball, tennis and other sport courts.
For more information on COVID-19 impacts in Santa Cruz County, people can go to www.santacruzhealth.org/coronavirus.