SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- During the COVID-19 pandemic a lot of public amenities were closed to lessen the spread of the virus. As restrictions are lifted, some public amenities have reopened.
Picnic tables at Santa Barbara city parks and beaches are open and can be used by members of the same household. Groups and parties are not allowed to share tables.
City parks like the Cabrillo Ball Field, Chase Palm Park, Shoreline Park and Mission Historical Park are all open, but for passive recreation use. City officials describe passive use as running, walk or other activities requiring someone to keep moving.
City official say the parks cannot be used for group activities unless they are city sponsored summer programs or permitted fitness under Santa Barbara County Public Health order.
The Cabrillo Pavilion was scheduled to be open on June 1, before the pandemic. While the pavilion is mostly closed, the bathrooms facing the beach are open.
City playgrounds are still close while city workout equipment are available for individual use.
Stearns Wharf is open for public access. Businesses are open in accordance with Santa Barbara County Public Health order. Physical distancing is required.
City parking lots are open. Payment is required where posted. Physical distancing is require as well as use of sanitizing measure at pay stations and points of contact.
Santa Barbara Mayor Cathy Murillo said, "People should not gather in groups larger than nine individuals, and they should not mix with people outside of their households or quarantine pods."
For some without a list of closure it's hard to stay on track of what's open and closed. Melissa Brown said, "It's just, it is confusing. You just kind of have to wing it and figure it out as you go."
While others like Linda Ruuska have found alternatived. Instead of using the picnic tables her friends spread out more than six feet apart on lawn chairs.
"It's be nice to have the tables available because we come here," said Ruuska. "But we've made adjustments by using our chairs. But when they're available then I'd use them."
If you go outside to enjoy Santa Barbara's public amenities, Nina Johnson, who's the senior assistant to the city administrator, said, "Everyone maintain a distance from others outside the household of six feet and if you feel you can't keep that distance definitely wear a mask. Wearing a mask is a requirement in public areas where you can't keep a six foot distance from others."
Johnson adds that if the beach or park you plan on going to is crowded, then find another spot where there's more space so you can keep a greater distance from others.
Brown already follows that policy. When she picks out a spot to picnic in the park she said she, "Anywhere that's not too crowded. Even the beach if the beach is too crowded we probably won't go. Find a beach that's less crowded. We're wearing our masks for sure, have hand sanitizer everywhere we go."