SANTA BARBARA (CBSLA) – With the beaches in Los Angeles, Ventura and most of Orange County closed this holiday weekend, that could bring major crowds to Santa Barbara County, one of the few areas in Southern California whose beaches will be open.
Santa Barbara County Public Health Department confirmed earlier this week that county beaches will remain open for the 4th of July weekend. However, separate households must practice social distancing. The county made it clear that physical distancing would be enforced.
However, with out-of-town visitors expected flock to Santa Barbara County, that could spell trouble, some Carpinteria residents said Wednesday.
“It concerns me now, it does, and sometimes I’ll step onto the sand a little bit and face the other way, sometimes I’ll just try and hold my breath and walk by, trying to be responsible, but it’s getting a little harder,” said one woman in Carpinteria.
“We’re a pretty small town, we’ve got a lot of elderly people down here, we don’t need everyone to get sick,” another woman added.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered parking lots for all state beaches closed for the holiday weekend, which will apply to El Capitan, Carpinteria, Point Sal and Refugio state beaches.
“Everybody is kind of grouped, there’s a lot of people right next to each other, so maybe just section it out,” one woman said.
With the surge of coronavirus cases statewide, Santa Barbara was among 19 counties ordered by Newsom Wednesday to shut down all its bars, along with all indoor operations for dine-in restaurants, wineries, wine tasing rooms, family entertainment centers, movie theaters, indoor zoos, museums and cardrooms.
The order will take effect at 5 p.m. Thursday in Santa Barbara County and will run for at least three weeks.
“We advise local businesses to prepare for these newly announced closures,” county Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg said in a statement. “We know that indoor settings with close crowds, as typically seen on holiday weekends, can create an unfavorable environment for the transmission of this virus. Please limit your exposure to people outside your home and wear your face covering when needed.”
Through Wednesday, Santa Barbara has recorded 3,164 confirmed coronavirus cases and 29 deaths from the disease.