Health order forbids non-exercise activities during holiday weekend
This is not the weekend to be lazy at the beach.
Those who planned on going to Santa Barbara County public beaches over the Labor Day weekend should make sure they stay active to comply with the latest Public Health Officer orders.
To reduce crowd sizes and slow the spread of COVID-19, the Health Officer order rules that individuals will be prohibited from passive recreational activities such as sitting, lying, standing, sunbathing, sight-seeing and picnicking at the beach.
Water sports like surfing, boogie-boarding, swimming, paddle-boarding, and kayaking will be allowed, and beaches can also be used for running, walking and cycling.
According to Santa Barbara County Community Services-Parks Division superintendent Jeff Lindgren, beaches will be enforced similar to how they were when closed over the July 4 weekend. Parks staff, Harbor Patrol, Sheriff’s Office and Santa Barbara Police Department personnel will partner in the enforcement, which Mr. Lindgren expects to go just as well as it did over Independence Day.
“I don’t expect any difference in enforcement as we had a generally good response from the public, who were appreciative that our beaches remained open unlike other areas of Southern California,” he said.
In addition to beaches being closed to stationary activity, parking lots at Santa Barbara County beaches have been closed for Labor Day weekend. However, the Harbor Main Parking Lot and the parking lot and Stearns Wharf will be open, according to Santa Barbara Waterfront business Manager Brian Bosse.
As for how violations of the Health Officer order will be enforced, Mr. Bosse said the main strategy will be informing violators of the temporary restrictions rather than punitive measures like fines.
“Our primary approach is education,” he stated.
Like Mr. Lindgren, Mr. Bosse anticipates most people will follow the rules over the long weekend.
“For the most part the public was very receptive and abided by the county directives, and that’s what we’re hoping for this time as well,” he said.
Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office is going to increase its patrol and parking enforcement at beaches and trailheads, just as it did with July 4.
According to Sheriff’s Office public information officer Raquel Zick, the Sheriff’s Mounted Enforcement Unit will be among its enforcement personnel, with County Air Support available as needed.
Ms. Zick added that those who are unable to find legal parking near a beach or trailhead should consider that location closed and return when legal parking can be found.