SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - After a hearing five public comments in favor of closing beaches over the holiday weekend, and four public comments opposed to the idea, the Santa Barbara City Council took a vote.
With only six council members taking part in the zoom meeting, it turned out to be a tie.
District 6 Council member Meagan Harmon was out sick, but not due to the Coronavirus.
Mayor Cathy Murillo, and council members Eric Friedman and Mike Jordon voted to keep the beaches open.
"Our City Council decided to keep the beaches open for Fourth of July weekend, the county public health officer is keeping the county's beaches open and we will be under that order," said Mayor Murillo.
Friedman said he would only support closing city beaches if Santa Barbara County Public Health Officer Dr. Henning Ansorg ordered it. He said there would be too many unintended consequences, such as parking in neighborhoods and too many people going to State Street.
Councilmember Jordan didn't think it was enforceable.
Council members in favor of closure said they were are worried that people who live in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, where beaches will be closed over the Fourth of July, will flock to Santa Barbara.
Murillo said there will be people keeping an eye on the beaches like they have done since the start of the pandemic.
"We will have firefighters and lifeguards and Harbor patrol and other community service officers reminding people on the beach to keep social distance and to wear masks," said Murillo.
She said city workers will also remind people not to gather in large groups.
The city's vote came after it was announced Santa Barbara County beaches would remain open.