Santa Cruz County Beaches, Parks to Reopen Thursday

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Santa Cruz County beaches and parks are reopening Thursday but it doesn’t mean residents should head over the hill to catch some waves.

Parking lots are still closed but it’s the anticipated changes in two weeks, giving the rest of the Bay Area insight into what might be opening here too.

“They tell me this is the way it used to be, nice and quiet,” said resident Matt Steinmetz.

Local surfers say the change is both good and bad.

“When you look at the empty beaches and the weather warming up, people are just going to start flocking over here and it’s going to create issues,” said Steinmetz.

The county is also considering peeling back some of the stay-at-home restrictions in two weeks because it has among the lowest confirmed case numbers in the state.

“We’re seeing a very flattened curve in Santa Cruz County which makes me feel optimistic,” said Santa Cruz County Public Health Officer Dr. Gail Newel.

If the progress continues, it may allow outdoor construction, golf, landscaping, and gatherings of 10 or fewer people with social distancing. 

“I think it’s really hard on the kids,” said resident Betsy Knepper. “For them to at least sit in a park with their friends six feet apart would do a lot for their mental health.”

The county said it’s also working with Bay Area jurisdictions to have unity on any new health order. For now, officials remind everyone to recreate in their own towns.

Surfers hope crowds don’t go and wipe out the progress that’s reopening the ocean.

“Stay home and let this virus pass,” said Steinmetz. The beaches and the ocean and the mountains will all still be here when it’s all done.”

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