ISLA VISTA, Calif. - For the next two weekends, beaches in Isla Vista are closed and overnight parking restrictions are taking effect in the seaside college community and the adjacent city of Goleta in an attempt to derail a potential 'Deltopia' street party amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
UC Santa Barbara students traditionally have gathered on the eponymous Del Playa Drive in I.V. to party during the first week of the school's spring quarter.
The event has already becoming more subdued in recent years before the onset of the pandemic last year turned much of Isla Vista into a ghost town.
The beaches are closed as an extra precaution to discourage students from gathering on the sand for the next two weekends.
This weekend and next weekend, Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Deputies will do regular patrols on foot, bicycle or in cars to keep parties under control.
On Friday afternoon, scattered groups of students walked up and down Del Playa Drive to gatherings at different homes, but no massive crowds formed.
Isla Vista Community Services District Board President Spencer Brandt encourages all students to hang out with the friends they live with in their immediate households, noting that all students and community residents 16 and older will be eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine in less than two weeks.
“We’re so close to getting through the worst stretches of the pandemic,” Brandt said, stressing the importance of keeping all people in Isla Vista safe. “And it’s really important that we continue to see improvement in our COVID case numbers.”
Brandt encourages students to continue to get tested for COVID-19 to bring those numbers down and prevent potential outbreaks. Free testing is being offered at the Isla Vista Theater on Fridays and Saturdays from Noon to 5 p.m.