Santa Cruz County Officials Rethink Beach Access Restrictions

After people from outside the county flocked to beaches last weekend, changes may loom

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Santa Cruz County officials are rethinking beach access restrictions and enforcement after hordes of people flocked to popular beaches over the weekend, according to a report from KSBW-TV.

The county remains under a stay-at-home order due to the coronavirus pandemic, and people were discouraged from forming large crowds at parks and beaches. But they showed up anyway, leading Santa Cruz County's Public Health officer to plan tighter restrictions on beach access, the station reported.

Parking lots at beaches and beach access points in Santa Cruz County are temporarily closed to vehicular access, the county said in a statement Tuesday. And while they remain accessible on foot, gathering in groups is not allowed and could lead to fines of up to $1,000.

The county added that if too many people visit a park or beach, visitors will be asked to leave.

Public health officials may announce even tighter restrictions by Thursday to take effect before the weekend.

The Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office issued 210 citations from Friday through Sunday, most of which were for parking violations, KSBW reported.

Many of those beachgoers were from outside the county, much to the chagrin of local residents who were adhering to the social distancing and shelter-at-home rules.

"There were people parking along the sides of the road, because the parking lots were closed, and dashing across traffic to get to the beach," Santa Cruz County spokesman Jason Hoppin told the station.

No one was cited for not wearing a facial covering, the county told KSBW. There's a two-week grace period before the county's facial covering order will be enforced.

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