Public Health Reverses Course and Closes Santa Barbara County Beaches

Public Health Reverses Course and Closes Santa Barbara County Beaches title=
Public Health Reverses Course and Closes Santa Barbara County Beaches
Reads 30686
Leadbetter beach at 12:30 p.m. Friday, April 24 (Photo: Patti Gutshall/edhat)
Update by edhat staff
July 2, 2020

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) has reversed course and announced the beaches will close through the July 4th weekend.

Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg issued a health officer order requiring all beaches to be closed to the public during the July 4th weekend.  This order is effective from 12:01 a.m. on Friday, July 3, 2020 and continuing until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, July 5, 2020.

PHD stated this order is being issued in response to Santa Barbra County not meeting the threshold criteria for Elevated Disease Transmission, Increasing Hospitalization, and Limited Hospital Capacity for the past 16 days as noted in the County Monitoring Metrics. However, just days earlier when the county was still not meeting the threshold criteria, PHD announced beaches will remain open. There was pushback from numerous residents and suggestions by Governor Gavin Newsom for local officials to close beaches.

“The temporary closure of all beaches is necessary due to the anticipated high volume of people at our beaches during the July 4th weekend, which will impede the practice of safe and necessary social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Santa Barba County,” said Dr. Henning Ansorg. “The landscape for this upcoming weekend has changed in the past few days as more and more counties have decided to close their beaches. This raised significant concern for the impacts to our local community.”

During Thursday's press conference, PHD Director Dr. Van Do-Reynoso stated they were hopeful the beaches could remain open over the holiday weekend, however, an increase in local cases, being on the state's monitoring list, and the closure of other southern California beaches led to the reversal of their decision.

The threat of thousands of people from out of the area funneling to Santa Barbara County caused great concern and the decision to pivot was in the community's best interest, Dr. Do-Reynoso confirmed.

Public beaches are closed with the exception that the ocean is open for water sports (e.g. surfing, swimming, paddle-boarding, kayaking, boating) and the beaches may be used for running, walking, cycling, or other forms of active physical activity. Passive activities like sunbathing, sitting, and picnicking are prohibited, as are umbrellas, tents, shade structures, beach chairs, coolers, and barbecues. 

Dr. Do-Reynoso also confirmed PHD has been working with local law enforcement and Parks and Recreation to assist with enforcing this closure. 

The full health officer order can be found here.

More information about the COVID-19 response locally, visit or call the County Call Center at 1(833) 688 – 5551.

By edhat staff
June 30, 2020

The Santa Barbara County Public Health Department (PHD) announced the beaches will remain open through the July 4th weekend.

"Beachgoers from separate households must maintain at least six feet of physical distance from one another and wash or sanitize their hands thoroughly and often. Strict social distancing will be enforced," according to PHD.

This announcement comes one day after Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg ordered all breweries and bars who do not serve a sit-down meal to close. Governor Newsom made the recommendation as Santa Barbara County failed to meet the state's attestation requirements.

Ventura and Los Angeles Counties have reportedly closed their beaches for the holiday weekend to prevent crowding that results in the spread of COVID-19. Many locals fear with Santa Barbara beaches open, people from out of town will travel to the area to enjoy the beach for the long weekend.

On Monday Santa Barbara County reported its 29th COVID-19 related death and 184 new cases from Saturday through Monday. Of the total 2,896 cases, 604 are still active.

Additionally, PHD stated there will not be a COVID-19 daily case report for Tuesday as they are transitioning data platforms. The next update will be provided on Wednesday, July 1.

Login to add Comments


Show Comments
a-1593632311 Jul 01, 2020 12:38 PM
Public Health Reverses Course and Closes Santa Barbara County Beaches

These industries to be closed include restaurants with dining rooms, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos and museums, and cardrooms. These health orders will be enforced by teams made up of some statewide agencies. The teams will include people from ABC, CalOSHA, Dept. of Business Oversight, Dept. of Consumer Affairs & CHP. They'll work with local health departments and businesses to locate workplaces that aren't complying with the orders.

haskelslocal Jul 01, 2020 01:11 PM
Public Health Reverses Course and Closes Santa Barbara County Beaches

Ya'll be Fear Mongering at 11. Fearful of uncertainty. Lack of understanding. Unable to realize how buried you are in emotions and devoid of logic. Unwilling to take chances while anchored in fear. The crazy part is, you're selling your fear off on the action of others. If not, you'd just stay home, stay clear, wear a mask and be done. But no, you think the world needs you for advice because it can't function without you. You're simultaneously too afraid that the Fear Of Missing Out is just to great. So if you can't have it? Then NOBODY can! Sadly, you bury these lies in some broken theory of altruism, courage and martyrdom. As if you're doing it because others can't do it for themselves. Got news for ya buddy. You're not the enlighten one. Nobody asked. It is certain your lens is so self centered you can't even see the wall of pain coming your way. Because if we don't find some sense of normalcy soon, if cities and businesses don't begin to function, then you've not yet see the hurt put on civilization. It's coming your way and it's worse than you'll ever imagine. So I guess sure, if you've thought it out and feel ready to live in chaos while living without? Then sure. Keep chanting your irrational terms on how people and society and others should live their life.

Luvaduck Jul 03, 2020 08:24 AM
Public Health Reverses Course and Closes Santa Barbara County Beaches

If catching this virus didn't entail anyone else--no medical personnel, no subsidized costs to the community due to spreading it, paying higher insurance rates soon and all the rest--your issue would be valid. That is not the case. You live among others. With freedom of choice <should> come responsibility. Without that, it's willful disregard and transfer-of-burden to others.

letmego Jul 03, 2020 09:01 AM
Public Health Reverses Course and Closes Santa Barbara County Beaches

No for us it's not fear mongering. It is data. Analysis. Looking at different angles. Making educated decisions based on the data. We tried going back to an "adjusted" normal. We started memorial day. What happened? Increasing cases, increasing numbers in the ICU and hospital, and only accelerating. If, when we opened, everyone behaved intelligently and wore masks and social distanced (no hanging out for hours in bars, no big family birthday parties), we wouldn't be here in this situation, being shut down. You can open up, regain *some* amount of normalcy, but you have to play it safe. It sucks. We all know this. I miss hugging people. And I'm NOT a hugger. There are definite issues with some people not having their social interaction. However, a large number of people in this town just don't care. They want to go out, and they are going out no matter what. SO here we are. When it comes to this shut down and data? I mean, come on. You can still walk/run/swim/surf on the beach. You just cannot linger. This was NOT because everyone is in fear of getting COVID at the beach. This was because having open beaches encourages the tourists from Los Angeles and elsewhere to come here and party, not social distance, not mask, and potentially spread COVID in our restaurants and stores.

rodneyck Jul 01, 2020 04:37 PM
Public Health Reverses Course and Closes Santa Barbara County Beaches

It is really every person for themselves. Gavin just announced a lock-down for 19 counties for at least three weeks. I guess SB is not one of them? Regardless, all the LA infected (highest rate) are going to be coming up to our beaches this weekend. That will be great for SB!! What are our city officials thinking?

giftedinSB Jul 02, 2020 03:23 PM
Public Health Reverses Course and Closes Santa Barbara County Beaches

This article is now outdated. Dr. Ansborg just ordered all beaches to be closed, except for swimming/surfing and walking or running.

John Wiley Jul 02, 2020 03:26 PM
Public Health Reverses Course and Closes Santa Barbara County Beaches

7/4's power in U.S. identity can't be overstated. Personal and collective meaning and memories are among our most treasured. Even so, as seen in comments here many of us are deeply concerned about public safety and pandemic risks of opening our County & City beaches for the holiday weekend this year. In one of the recent comments "Anonymous" wrote: "Is there any petition or action being taken to tell the City what we think about them opening (and advertising) our beaches this weekend?" Not knowing how/where else to do something I'm going to write up a formal Petition and request Ed to publish it in some way that individuals with unique public or anonymous ID can "sign" for/against beach closure for County/City. If it can be done and enough "sign" we can try to find some way of getting it to the County & City.

a-1593729502 Jul 02, 2020 03:38 PM
Public Health Reverses Course and Closes Santa Barbara County Beaches

Oop. No need for a petition now. Wonder who's going to be walking the beaches, telling people they can't lie down on their towels? It's gonna take a lot of police and sheriffs. Please don't tell me LE is going to be driving up and down the beaches . . .

John Wiley Jul 02, 2020 03:26 PM
Public Health Reverses Course and Closes Santa Barbara County Beaches

Concerns: Crowds, alcohol, fireworks, violence, surge in pandemic cases here & adjoining closed beach counties, and risks to police and anyone else trying to enforce pandemic precautions. That's just off the top of my head, not having waded thru all the preceding comments. In favor of beach opening are commerce, tradition, hope of calm safe & sane unity, faith in human nature and effective enforcement, and what "freedom" means to each of us.

Chip of SB Jul 02, 2020 03:50 PM
Public Health Reverses Course and Closes Santa Barbara County Beaches

The order says says a violation is a misdemeanor. That means anyone charged for violating the order is entitled to a trial by jury. If anyone is charged with violating the order, which I doubt will happen, pleading not guilty should be sufficient to get the charges dropped. Can you imagine summoning a jury to try someone for “attempted picnicking?”

John Wiley Jul 02, 2020 04:01 PM
Public Health Reverses Course and Closes Santa Barbara County Beaches

PHO Order Summary (unofficial): Applies to all SB County public beaches 7/3-5 (may be extended/revised). Violation = <$1k fine &/or jail & civil penalties. All ocean "water sports" permitted (presumably not standing/sitting feet in water to drink and/or shoot fireworks, etc.). Active "physical activity" ok. No "sitting, lying, standing, sunbathing, sight-seeing, picnicking" or other "non-exercise, passive, or sedentary activities" or possession of items for those purposes. Applies to adjacent property except for permitted beach access (no parties on the East Beach grass, etc.). Only people with reservations at County & State beaches have access, still limited to this Order. Piers left to their management but face covering & distancing mandatory. Full text of Order here:


Please Login or Register to comment on this.