As California began to rapidly reopen the economy, officials in Santa Cruz County decided the safe thing to do was keep its landmark beaches largely closed in the afternoons to prevent crowds that could spread the coronavirus.
But the public increasingly ignored the rules and demanded their summer on the sand, swimming, sunbathing and just hanging out. Unable to stop the crowds, county officials simply gave up.
“People are not willing to be governed anymore in that regard,” health officer Dr. Gail Newel said as the county rescinded its beach closure order last week.
This is the problem California officials now face as they deal with a major surge in coronavirus cases tied to business reopenings, social gatherings and other factors, and hospitals are becoming increasingly crowded. As the public has become more accustomed to the pandemic, Californians have seemingly become less afraid of the highly contagious virus, even though it’s no less infectious than it was in the winter.
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