Santa Cruz County to reopen all beaches Friday


SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (KRON) – Effective today at midnight, all Santa Cruz County beaches will reopen to the public.

In a press conference Thursday, county officials said they had hoped to extend the beach closure through the Fourth of July weekend.

“It has become impossible for law enforcement to continue to enforce that closure,” said county Health Officer Gail Newel. “People are not willing to be governed anymore in that regard.”

An increased case count was expected as businesses began reopening and large memorials were held in the region, Newel said, apparently referring to the recent memorial for fallen Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Sgt. Damon Gutzwiller, who was killed in the line of duty on June 6.

There has been a slight uptick in hospitalizations, but Newel said the county is not near capacity.

The increase is “something to watch, but not unexpected,” she added.

Face coverings for Santa Cruz County children over age of 2 are now required, she said.

Santa Cruz County’s current shelter-in-place will expire July 6 and the county does not intend to have a shelter-in-place order after it expires, she said.

Local orders on face coverings, social distancing and skilled nursing facilities will remain in place.

At last check, there have been 337 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Santa Cruz County, and 3 deaths.

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