Fourth of July beach closures in San Mateo County draw mixed reactions

Fearing a migration from throughout the Bay Area this Fourth of July weekend, officials closed all beaches and beach parking lots on the San Mateo County Coast, from sunrise Friday to sunrise  Monday. That order includes popular beaches in Pacifica and Half Moon Bay.

"They have to do it. It is not going away. The numbers are getting worse," said Martha Koch of Burlingame.

At Linda Mar Beach law enforcement was turning people away. Some people were not happy about it.

Several surfers did manage to get out on their boards, but we were told they arrived early before the authorities had gotten set up. Those who came later seemed to feel cheated.


"I don't see why they won't let people social distance out in the water. I feel like the surfers get it. We don't want to spread the virus," said one surfer.

But a little north of Linda Mar, at the Pacifica Municipal Pier, we found a different story.

The pier is open, and people did come. But the beach near the pier is closed. And people came there too, even though posted signs there say they are not supposed to.

Unlike at Linda Mar, we did not see law enforcement while we were here. 

"I've been coming here for walks with my dog and this is the least amount of people we've ever seen," said Sue Schechter of San Francisco.

But that also could be due to foggy weather.

"It is time for people to be accountable and not go out to the coast. And that's the clear message," says San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa.

In San Mateo County the number of people who have tested positive more than tripled in the month of June.

"My worst nightmare, I've seen it in other places in the state is 200-300 people packed like sardines. And there is no social distancing," Canepa said.

Beachgoers say without the beach closures that scenario would be possible here.

"Since they opened it up in May, the crowds have been incredibly dense. And very few people are wearing masks," said Camille Ramani of Daly City.

Law enforcement says fines can range from $60 to $1,000. But they say the purpose is not to fine people, but discourage them from coming.