Customers enjoy outdoor dining on Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz. City officials recently cordoned motor traffic off between Lincoln and Cathcart streets to allow restaurants and cafes to move seating and tables outside to accommodate ongoing coronavirus guidelines. —Tarmo Hannula/The Pajaronian

Officials in Monterey County have canceled the Monterey County Fair this year due to the coronavirus outbreak. The event was special this year in that it was designed to celebrate the 250th year of Monterey under the theme “Fiesta.”

The mayor of Salinas, Joe Gunter, died suddenly Monday at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital. Gunter put in more than 50 years of public service and was elected mayor in 2012. He was 73. Officials said he died of heart disease and complications from cancer.

Numerous employees at the Target store in Hollister have been diagnosed with COVID-19. The company said multiple employees  tested positive and are now on paid leave.The store is still open.

There are now 349 cases of Covid-19 in Santa Cruz County, including three deaths and 30 new cases. Monterey has 1,642  cases with 37 new cases while San Benito has 232 cases. Worldwide there are 10.5 million cases with 510,000 deaths. The U.S. has more than  2.63 million cases with 127,410 deaths while 710,000 people have recovered. In the Bay area there are 25,411.

Beaches are being closed in Florida and L.A. for the Fourth of July holiday. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said, “I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 cases  a day if we do not turn around.” He noted that there were 48,000 new cases in the U.S. on Tuesday alone.

Now, 28 states have seen an increase of cases in the last 14 days. California is seeing a step up in cases with more than half in LA.

Dr. Joseph Fair said that conflicting guidance has played a role in the surge of numbers, whether it is face mask use or social distancing.

The CHP will start their Maximum Enforcement Period for the Fourth of July holiday starting Friday at 6pm and continuing through midnight Sunday. In 2019 there were 36 deaths on the highways over the same period with 1,317 DUI arrests, the CHP said.

Officer Julieta Trenado said the Santa Cruz area CHP office will have as many officers as possible on patrol. “The law is simple,” she said. “Don’t drink and drive. If you drink, do it responsibly by planning ahead. Plan on a designated driver, getting a hotel room or using a ride share.” 

Trenado reminds the public to continue using a face mask when out in public and to avoid gatherings. “Remember to keep the guidelines of six feet apart,” she said. “Maintain a safe speed limit and wear that seat belt: It does save lives.”

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Tarmo Hannula has been the lead photographer with The Pajaronian newspaper in Watsonville since 1997. More recently Good Times & Press Banner. He also reports on a wide range of topics, including police, fire, environment, schools, the arts and events. A fifth generation Californian, Tarmo was born in the Mother Lode of the Sierra (Columbia) and has lived in Santa Cruz County since the late 1970s. He earned a BA from UC Santa Cruz and has traveled to 33 countries.


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