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Thousands Flock To Half Moon Bay Beaches To Escape Sweltering Temperatures

HALF MOON BAY (CBS SF) -- Traffic was bumper-to-bumper in Half Moon Bay Saturday as thousands flocked to the local beaches to escape a heat wave that sent temperatures soaring across the San Francisco Bay Area.

But the crowds raised concerns over the spread of COVID-19 as many were not wearing face masks. Half Moon Bay Mayor Adam Eisen said when they closed the local beaches over the July 4th holiday, most out-of-town visitors simply ignored the signs.

"And I said, well, there's police officers on the beach that are going to take you off the beach," Eisen said of the holiday crowd. "And they said, 'Well, we'll see' and they just walked right by."

Among the visitors Saturday was Laurie Webb, who came to Half Moon Bay from Manteca with her friend, Liz Stevenson, to celebrate both of their birthdays and get out of the inland valley heat.

"We knew when we got up it was gonna be 109," Webb said. "We knew that we've been in our homes for 5 months and looking for something to do, thinking, you know what, rather be by the ocean ... a little bit cooler, celebrating and we knew people would do social distancing and everybody would stay in a safe spot."

Most people kept their distance on the beach, but with so many people jamming into the small coastal town, the lives of local residents were disrupted. Beachgoers were clogging neighborhoods, parking any place they can find and leaving behind trash.

"You know, I have constituents sending me messages where people were defecating in their front lawns," Eisen said. "You know, because there was no bathrooms for people to use."

Some residents are angry and would like to see the beaches closed altogether on weekends during the pandemic but that would require approval from eight different agencies and jurisdictions.

Rich Macario said he can live with the crowds. He just wishes they would be a little more courteous.

"As long as they take what they brought home with them, we're happy," Macario said. "So, if I don't have to go out and clean up my front yard in the morning because if it...I totally understand it."

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