Santa Cruz County beaches reopen because it's 'impossible' to deter people

Santa Cruz County officials are ending a near two-month beach ban, allowing them to finally reopen on Friday. 

Originally, Santa Cruz County health officer Dr. Gail Newel had intended for the beach closure to last through the Fourth of July weekend, but she said enforcing the order has been challenging.

"It's become impossible for law enforcement to continue to enforce that closure and people are not willing to be governed anymore in that regard," Newel said. "And so we want to recognize that by removing that restriction."

The county's current shelter-in-place order stretches through July 6, after which it expires. Newel said she does not anticipate issuing another health order and will fully rely on guidance from the state.

This comes at a time when Santa Cruz County has seen an uptick in COVID-19 infections. Over the weekend, the county reported 28 new cases in the span of two days. Newel said it's "by far the greatest increase that we've had to date in COVID-19 in our county."

However, local health officials said that data isn't alarming. They expected to see a spike in cases as the county reopened, giving way to community gatherings, protests, and vigils.