SANTA CRUZ COUNTY, CA — Visitors may return to Santa Cruz County hotels, bars, fitness centers, pools, tasting rooms and more beginning Friday, though beaches will remain under restricted hours for the weeks to come.
Campgrounds, RV parks, museums, galleries and aquariums may also reopen under a new order issued by Santa Cruz County Health Officer Gail Newel Tuesday, the county announced in a news release.
The changes come just in time for summer, a busy season for the tourism industry. People must still wear masks and practice social distancing, the county said.
The new order also extends partial beach closures until July 6, but officials will reassess at that time. Beaches will remain closed from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., but people may exercise on the beaches outside of that time period.
The reopenings are possible because Santa Cruz County is one of 51 of California's 58 counties that have been granted a Stage 2 variance to proceed further into the second tier of the state's four-tiered plan to restart public life. Much of the Bay Area has not moved into this phase.
Newel noted that businesses may not be ready to reopen by Friday and urged business operators to review state guidelines for reopening.
The state has previously said that movie theaters, bowling alleys, mini-golf courses and other family entertainment venues may reopen Friday in Santa Cruz County and others that have received a Stage 2 variance.
The county may close businesses again, should COVID-19 concerns escalate.