The county of Santa Cruz is lifting all beach restrictions, a decision that’s come a week earlier than expected and as a surprise for some residents.
For the last two months, they’ve been essentially closed during the day, during peak sun hours. From 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., no one was allowed to sit on the beach but at midnight, the rule ends.
The rule was intended to keep people from gathering together in large groups at the beach, but most residents say people didn't really follow that rule.
“It's really crowded,” said Santa Cruz resident Leslie Gallo. “You know people have tents up and their umbrellas and lots of children running around, so they may as well open it.”
That's the reasoning behind the Santa Cruz public Health officer's announcement Thursday morning.
“We had hoped to continue the beach closure until after the 4th of July weekend, but it's become impossible for law enforcement to continue to enforce that closure,” said Dr. Gail Newel.
Residents seem to agree.
“Why not? People weren't really paying attention to it and it wasn't being enforced anyway,” said Santa Cruz resident Teagan Newby.
Along with the beach order, Newel announced Santa Cruz County's shelter-at-home order will expire July 6 - and it will not be extended. However, wearing face coverings in public will still be required.
“I'm a little afraid of the spike we might see,” said resident Leslie Gallo.