Public Health Reverses Course and Closes Santa Barbara County Beaches
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 www.publichealthsbc.org or call the County Call Center at 1(833) 688 – 5551.
By edhat staff
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.