Mayor Encourages Residents To Stay Diligent, Safe Over Holiday

Jeff Arnold

SANTA CRUZ, CA – As the July 4 holiday weekend approaches and with thousands of visitors expected the visit the city’s beaches, Mayor Justin Cummings is stressing that local residents need to remain vigilant against the spread of the coronavirus by limiting the size of public gatherings and avoiding large crowds.

Santa Cruz County’s face-covering order, which is in line with statewide guidance, remains in place indefinitely, city officials said in a news release. Face coverings and masks are required for everyone, including children over the age of 2, and Cummings said that even as some levels of reopening have started across the county and stage, it is vital for residents need to remain cautious.

“Santa Cruz has been a leader in the state in minimizing the impacts of COVID-19 (and) I urge our residents to continue to lead by example,” Cummings said in the news release. "Consider staying at home or seeking outdoor venues other than the beaches for holiday celebrations. We are not only responsible for our own health, but also the health of the most vulnerable residents in our community.”

According to the Santa Cruz County Health Officer, most documented cases in Santa Cruz County and the state are due to person-to-person spread by known contacts who remained within six feet of each other for prolonged periods without wearing face coverings. The county began to see upticks in cases following Mother’s Day, Memorial Day and graduation celebrations, officials said.

Santa Cruz Police and Fire crews will focus on enforcement of the citywide Safety Enhancement Zone that will be in effect from 8 p.m. Thursday until through 11:59 p.m. Sunday. The safety enhancement designation authorizes the tripling of fees for violations of Santa Cruz municipal code, such as the illegal discharge of fireworks, littering, and public consumption of alcohol.

In addition, education and encouragement - not enforcement – will continue to characterize the city’s approach, Cummings said.

“With hotels, state parks, and other areas for tourism and recreation open, it is very hard to manage keeping just the City’s beaches closed,” he said. “In the absence of a statewide emphasis on minimizing travel and county-wide beach closures, more conflict could arise between law enforcement and people who are visiting from out of town.

“Our officers are needed to respond to increase in calls that we typically receive during the 4th of July holiday weekend. People should continue to shelter in place and follow the guidelines that will ensure their health and well-being.”

This article originally appeared on the Santa Cruz Patch