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Sausalito Officials Close Parking Lots, Pledge a Crackdown on Lockdown Violators

SAUSALITO (KPIX) -- Sausalito is a favorite spot for weekend visitors. But, during the coronavirus outbreak, if you don't live there or have official business there the city says you're not welcome.

During normal times the town is packed on sunny weekends and even during the shelter-in-place it has been a popular place to visit.

"That's the luxury of living in Marin, man," said Maximilian Johnson, enjoying the sunshine on Sunday. "You gotta enjoy it while you can, you know what I mean?" he said with a laugh.

Police aren't laughing. They say the large crowds in town on Saturday was just too much.

"We have seen it increase from previous days and previous weeks," said Sausalito police captain Bill Flaass. "This kind of unlawful behavior endangers everybody in our community as well as endangering those who are violating that stay-at-home order."

So, effective Sunday morning, the city began closing its parking lots on weekends and holidays and will only allow metered street parking for cars displaying a residents parking permit or those engaged in essential business.

Police said they will begin citing people for traveling to Sausalito for non-essential purposes -- a violation with a fine of up to $500.

"So even if a person stays six feet away, even if a person has a mask on, if you're traveling from your own community to another community for non-essential activities, that is a violation of the public health order," Capt. Flaass said.

Bicycling is only allowed as long as it is directly related to exercise.

According to Capt. Flaass, "If their bicycling is part of their exercise then they have to continue going through. They can't just stop and ... they can't use their bicycle as a means of transportation to get from one location to another."

Police say they will be focusing on obvious violators, adding that people have had enough time to learn the restrictions of the stay-at-home order and ignorance is no longer a valid excuse.

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