22 March 2020 22:53
Throngs of visitors to West Marin packed beaches and other scenic spots Saturday, prompting county officials to call on Bay Area residents to stay away amid a shelter-in-place order aimed at curbing the coronavirus. Horrified locals sent photos of a bustling Dillon Beach, where they said so many visitors turned out on the bright sunny day that residents' cars were blocked from leaving the area. The parking lot along Sky Oaks Road on Mount Tamalpais was shuttered by sheriff's deputies, who described seeing an "astronomical amount of people NOT practicing social distancing and home sheltering," in a tweet hash tagged #stayathomeandsavealife. The Marin County Department of Health and Human Services called the scene "an unusual influx of visitors – residents from around the Bay Area – amassing for the purpose of being outdoors" in an announcement Saturday night. Coronavirus: National Park Service closing gates at Point Reyes after visitor influx Coronavirus is bringing a plague of dangerous doomsday predictions "Marin is usually a place for recreation, but now is not the time," said Dr. Lisa Santora, county deputy public health officer, in a statement.
Public health officials ask that residents stay close to home and avoid driving whenever possible. Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said people need to realise it "isn't a game" as Boris Johnson recommended those most at risk of contracting the deadly bug to stay at home for 12 weeks. "I thought it would be easy to stay apart from people on the beach but the car park was so busy it was like being in a tin of sardines. Officials at Snowdonia National Park said they couldn't remember "a busier day" than Saturday and hundreds of cars were lined up at the roadside at the foot of Pen Y Fan mountain in the Brecon Beacons. He added: "The situation is enormously complex and fast-moving, and we believe that taking decisive action to help implement effective social distancing is in the best interests of all of our visitors and staff, and is part of the collective national effort to help contain the coronavirus.
"Sky Oaks Rd, which leads to the watershed is closed due to the astronomical amount of people NOT practicing social distancing and home sheltering," the sheriff's department posted on Twitter. "We understand the communities frustrations with the LARGE amount of people traveling to the Coast today and NOT practicing social distancing," deputies said on Twitter. Marin's shelter-in-place order went into effect March 16 along with six other Bay Area jurisdictions, and Gov. Gavin Newsom followed with a statewide stay-at-home directive on March 18. Speaking via Skype on "Fox & Friends Weekend" Scott, who is in self-quarantine, made the comment as beaches and hotels in the Florida Keys are expected to officially close to control the spread of the coronavirus. Monroe County announced that starting at 6 p.m. on Sunday, any hotel or visitor lodging site in the Florida Keys will have to shut down, Fox 13 reported, adding that the mandate will be in effect for 14 days, but could be extended.
Many of the state's beaches, including those in Miami-Dade County, have been ordered to close after images of rowdy spring break college crowds surfaced amid the rising global death toll, which surpassed 13,400 on Sunday, according to data compiled by Fox News. "I know a 62-year-old male in good health that is struggling for his life right now so we have got to take this seriously," Scott said on Sunday. "We have got to social distance, don't leave your home if you don't have to," he said. We need to enforce it," Scott said, adding that if people follow the guidelines "maybe, hopefully, in a very short period of time we can get past this, so we can open up the restaurants, do air travel, do our vacations we want to take, but we have got to get this behind us.