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World health issue impacts small towns on the Central Coast

Carpinteria
John Palminteri
Small towns are coping with a world health problem and try to get through in their unique ways. (Photo: John Palminteri)
Carpinteria
John Palminteri
Small towns are coping with a world health problem and try to get through in their unique ways. (Photo: John Palminteri)
Carpinteria
John Palminteri
Small towns are coping with a world health problem and try to get through in their unique ways. (Photo: John Palminteri)
Carpinteria
John Palminteri
Small towns are coping with a world health problem and try to get through in their unique ways. (Photo: John Palminteri)

CARPINTERIA, Calif. - The Carpinteria Valley has the "World's Safest Beach"  and even in its small-town setting, it has a world health problem to deal with. It can't escape the impact.

The coronavirus crisis is a direct hit that no city saw coming at the magnitude that it has arrived.

Beachfront rental properties normally set for spring break are dark. Boutiques have the lights out. Only grocery stores and essential sites remain open.

It's a calmer setting than some places, and in uneasy times, that's helpful.

"Everyone's great and it seemed like it was pretty good in there. I was just in Albertsons and everybody is cool and collected and it's pretty well stocked," said Theron Kontos while loading a truck with food and supplies.

Also leaving, David Konietzny of Carpinteria said he was able to make a donation to help those who are in need. "They have in there where you can put in and donate to the needy families and I just really feel for those that are completely out of work."

Some people in town have come from out of the area. Like Marcela Press who said it is not like Los Angeles where she sees very stressful situations.  "We are old so we came here. Here is very nice, very pleasant, and we have seen helping the community it is very nice."

There is no sense of normalcy when you tell people who love to run into their friends to stay in for most of the day.          

Sharon Dal Pozzo said, "It is just the long term of it all that is the most oppressive feeling that you have because you say, 'wait until August.'"

Small towns, however, can take care of each other possibly a little bit better than the bigger ones.

"Carp is strong," said Union 76 service station owner Don Risdon. He hears it all from his customers. 

Flower grower Rene VanWingerden at Ocean Breeze nursery dropped off a truck of flowers, rejected by a store, at Risdon's on Santa Monica Road and said he could give them all away.

"Take one for yourself and one to give away to a friend to make somebody happy. To make them smile in this time of crisis," said Risdon. "We are going to keep doing it until we can't do it anymore."

Some families were hanging out in the open spaces or taking a coastal ride on their bikes. Exercising is allowed as long as you don't congregate or have group games as many are used to.

Mike Morse said, "We went for a walk on the beach on Rincon point today with our dog and there were other people out and we were all keeping our distance."

Looking ahead to the weekend, "I am a bike rider and I am going to try and get out tomorrow and do a long bike ride," said Konietzny.

Small towns, like cities of all sizes everywhere, are adjusting like they never have before.

Coronavirus / Local Politics / Politics / Safety / Santa Barbara- S County

John Palminteri

John Palminteri is senior reporter for KEYT NewsChannel 3 and KCOY 12 Central Coast News.