Santa Barbara County beaches will be off limits this Fourth of July weekend starting Friday at 12 a.m. following an order from Santa Barbara County Public Health Officer Henning Ansorg on Thursday afternoon.
The order comes on the heels of similar closures in nearby counties, such as Los Angeles and Ventura, amid growing concerns for the potential increase of coronavirus transmission across the golden state during the holiday weekend.
The closure of beaches in nearby counties “raised significant concern for the impacts to our local community,” Ansorg said in the press release. The anticipated beach crowds would “impede the practice of safe and necessary social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Santa Barbara County,” he added.
“Active physical activity,” such as running, walking or cycling, on county beaches and beach parkways is permitted under the order, but “Sitting, lying, standing, sunbathing, sight- seeing, picnicking, and all other non-exercise, passive, or sedentary activities” are banned.
The beaches will remain open for surfing, swimming, paddleboarding, boogie boarding, kayaking, boating and other active water activities.
For the past 16 days, Santa Barbara County failed to meet threshold criteria from the California Department of Public Health that measure “Elevated Disease Transmission, Increasing Hospitalization, and Limited Hospital Capacity,” according to the press release.
UC Santa Barbara will also close its campus beaches — Campus Point and Sands Beach — as well as the adjacent parking lots, in accordance with Ansorg’s order, according to an email sent from the university on Thursday evening.
Beachgoers who disobey the order could face a fine of up to $1,000 or jail time.
Beaches in Santa Barbara County will reopen on July 6.