SANTA BARBARA (CBSLA) — All beaches in Santa Barbara County have been ordered to close over July 4th weekend due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The move comes following concerns that major crowds could flock to Santa Barbara County after beaches in Los Angeles, Ventura and most of Orange County closed this holiday weekend.

The order, issued by Santa Barbara County Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg, went into effect Friday, July 3 at 12 a.m., and lasts until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, July 5.

“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 Barbara County,” Ansorg said.

“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.”

The order comes after the county’s numbers failed to meet the threshold criteria for elevated disease transmission, increasing hospitalizations and limited hospital capacity for the past 16 days.

While public beaches are closed, the ocean remains open for watersports including surfing, swimming, paddle-boarding,  kayaking and boating.

The beach may still be used for active use including walking, running, cycling or other forms of physical activity.

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