SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) -- The mayor of Santa Cruz is urging residents ahead of the Fourth of July weekend to consider staying home instead of heading to the beach and reminding people about the state's mandatory face mask requirement.
Mayor Justin Cummings said in a prepared statement that with Santa Cruz County beaches now open and crowds expected to visit them during the holiday weekend, he wants people to remain cautious, limit gatherings and avoid crowds.
"Santa Cruz has been a leader in the State in minimizing the impacts of COVID-19. I urge our residents to continue to lead by example," said Cummings. "Consider staying at home or seeking outdoor venues other than the beaches for holiday celebrations. We are not only responsible for our own health, but also the health of the most vulnerable residents in our community."
Santa Cruz County's face covering order aligns with the state's guidance, which requires face coverings in public or high-risk settings. Face coverings are required for everyone over the age of 2 years old.
Last Friday, Santa Cruz County reopened its beaches to the public even as coronavirus cases have been spiking in the county.
The original closure on May 2 made it illegal to be on the beaches from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., with fines up to $1,000. Previously, deputies would warn people not to get on the water or risk being fined.
At first, locals followed the rules. But as time went on, the county said so many people were flouting the rules and going to the beach anyway, that it became impossible for police to enforce it.
"With hotels, state parks, and other areas for tourism and recreation open, it is very hard to manage keeping just the City's beaches closed. In the absence of a statewide emphasis on minimizing travel and county-wide beach closures, more conflict could arise between law enforcement and people who are visiting from out of town," said Cummings. "Our officers are needed to respond to increase in calls that we typically receive during the 4th of July holiday weekend. People should continue to shelter in place and follow the guidelines that will ensure their health and wellbeing."
COMPLETE COVERAGE: CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
According to the Santa Cruz County Health Officer, most documented cases in the county and the state are person-to-person spread by known contacts who remained within 6 feet of each other for prolonged periods without wearing face coverings. Santa Cruz County began to see upticks in cases following Mother's Day, Memorial Day and graduation celebrations.
Santa Cruz police and fire crews will enforce a citywide Safety Enhancement Zone from 8 p.m. on Thursday, July 2, 2020, through 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, July 5, 2020, which authorizes the tripling of fees for violations such as the illegal discharge of fireworks, littering, and public consumption of alcohol.
Residents should also remain vigilant at gatherings of family and friends to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Minimize contact with others, including keeping visits short, wearing face coverings, staying 6 feet apart whenever possible, washing your hands often, and gathering outdoors instead of indoors. Additionally, be sure to clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces, don't share utensils, equipment, sports equipment.
for more features.