Public health officers in the Bay Area and surrounding counties are now talking about potentially easing coronavirus-related restrictions for so-called low-risk activities, such as those that can be done in open spaces, starting May 4.
While discussions are taking place, it’s important to emphasize that in the Bay Area, the stay at home and social distancing guidelines remain in place.
Santa Cruz County has already taken a small step in reopening its beaches and parks. Despite it being a cold Thursday, that didn’t stop some Bay Area residents from heading to the coast.
“I’m so excited,” Courtney Hutchinson of Mountain View said. “I just can’t wait to jump in the ocean. I’m just really loving it.”
Bay Area public health officials will watch the reaction to the beach and park reopening carefully before considering whether to open similar waterfront sites, such as Ocean Beach in San Francisco, Pillar Point Harbor in San Mateo County or Jack London Square in Oakland.
The public health officers are gathering input from numerous sources and want any decisions to be consistent from one county to the next. They also continue to emphasize that the most important factor will still be the coronavirus curve.
Santa Cruz County Public Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel said she reopened beaches and parks cautiously.
“If we see large gatherings of crowds, we may need to close some or all of the parks and beaches again,” she said.
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Santa Cruz locals said large gatherings could be a problem when the weather warms up.
“I think there’s the potential that people coming from over the hill, from the Bay Area might see it as a free for all where they might think, ‘Oh, well, we can go over there with all of our friends and this big group of people and all hang out,'” Greg Feeney of Santa Cruz said.
Some Bay Area visitors said they’re concerned about that as well.
“You know, I don’t know about crowds,” Makenzie Wesner of Saratoga said. “I certainly won’t be out here if there’s a crowd.”