VENTURA (CBSLA) — San Buenaventura Beach drew a steady stream of visitors on Memorial Day, but this year, in addition to the red white and blue, there was yellow tape and signs reminding everyone of the rules in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“It’s actually the first time we’ve been out as a family these ten weeks of quarantine,” said Calabasas resident Keren Levin. “We’re walking back and forth, we’re passing the soccer ball around and that’s it, enjoying the breeze.”
The family knows they’re not supposed to sit, sunbathe, picnic, or gather on the beach, but some did settle in the sand. That’s why Ventura police officers went around and reminded them to pack up and stay on the move.
Lorraine Vaughn, whose family came from Bakersfield said, “We were trying to have some family time, we had our blankets down and our chairs, we saw the police walking around and they were like oh you have to walk around and you can’t do anything. We were like, ‘that’s no fun.’ It’s working, people are leaving left and right.”
“I think it’s very well maintained right now,” said Ventura resident Paul Morehead. “I expected more people. So I think people are staying away, which I think is a good thing.”
Ventura resident Shelly Franzel said, “It’d be nice if we can lay out and enjoy the ocean and the water but it’s good. It’s just nice to be out of the house.”
Many people who enjoyed Ventura County’s beautiful beaches Monday also took advantage of the restaurants there.
Last week, restaurants welcomed back dine-in customers after Ventura County because the first in Southern California to be approved by the state for accelerated reopening.
“The dining options are open, which they are not in Los Angeles,” said Levin. “We are a family of five that may want to eat as well as walk, then this is very convenient and nice.”
Emma Sanchez, the owner of El Capitan Restaurant in Simi Valley, said she and her customers are thrilled to be back with modified dine-in services.
“It’s fantastic to be back,” said Sanchez.
She said the social distancing guidelines indoors limits the number of customers, that’s why she’s on board with her city’s plan to allow restaurants to seat diners on sidewalks and in parking spaces to increase capacity.
“We would love to do that only because we have lost about 42% of our seating so we would like to make up for it,” she said.
“The restaurants opening for the economy, that’s great, but I still think our beaches need to be reopened,” said Morehead.