Watsonville beach covid-19
People enjoy the wide open space of Palm Beach in Watsonville. — Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY—Santa Cruz County Health Officer Gail Newel on Thursday indefinitely extended the shelter-in-place order issued on March 31. She also closed the county’s beaches between the hours of 11am and 5pm.

Both moves are meant to further reduce the spread of COVID-19 by limiting opportunities for people to gather in large groups.

Residents are allowed to leave their home only to perform essential activities such as shopping, or to engage in essential governmental and work-related functions. 

But Newell also signaled that county officials are otherwise ready to loosen some restrictions, by allowing medical and dental offices to reopen, along with fabric and craft stores and golf courses, among other things.

In addition, certain group activities involving children can begin again, such as those overseen by child care establishments, summer camps and educational or recreational programs. These activities must be conducted in groups of 12 or fewer.

Social distancing is still required when in public, as are facemasks.

“We have made great progress flattening the curve and protecting vulnerable residents and critical healthcare infrastructure, but we still have a long road ahead,” Newel said. “These are the first steps on a long journey, which will be guided by science and the leadership of State public health officials.”

The orders become effective at 11:59pm Friday.

Newel’s orders do not change restrictions on hotels, motels, inns, bed and breakfasts, vacation rentals, RV parks, campgrounds, and other short-term lodging businesses.

Those are prohibited from providing accommodations to anyone unless they are in the county to perform essential services, providing an essential governmental function or caring for a sick individual. All lodging businesses are required to confirm the basis for any accommodation. 

As of Thursday afternoon there were 131 known COVID-19 cases in Santa Cruz County. Eighty-eight people have recovered, 19 have been hospitalized and two have died. 

In South County, there have been 38 confirmed cases. 

For information about the coronavirus or to see the complete revised order visit santacruzhealth.org/coronavirus.

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General assignment reporter, covering nearly every beat. I specialize in feature stories, but equally skilled in hard and spot news. Pajaronian/Good Times/Press Banner reporter honored by CSBA. https://pajaronian.com/r-p-reporter-honored-by-csba/


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