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Tourists flock to Monterey Peninsula for holiday weekend despite county-wide beach closures

People on Old Fisherman's Wharf

MONTEREY, Calif. (KION) People celebrated on the Fourth of July weekend, and many traveled to the Central Coast to do so.

People strolling on Old Fisherman's Wharf in Monterey on Sunday were wearing masks, in accordance with the city's requirement. A lot of them said they were from out of town.

“I think people are coming anyways and they’re going to do something until someone tells them ‘no’ or ‘put your mask on,’” tourist Destiny Silva said.

These tourists tell me that restrictions, like the mask requirement and beach closures, simply weren't enough to keep them away.

“I think people are just at the point now where, you know, they just want to get out and do something,” resident Victor Ballard said.

They said there's not much to do in the area during a pandemic, aside form walking the wharf and going to the beach. But it turns out the closure isn't being as strictly enforced on some beaches as it is on others.

“We went to the beach yesterday, and we were there for an hour,” Silva said.

They said, depending on which beach they go to in the area, they've been able to spend some time on the sand.

"We were there sitting, laying down, tanning," Silva said. "Everyone else was, and they didn’t care."

This came despite Monterey County beaches closed or limited access this weekend. Local beaches were strictly closed, and Pacific Grove Police said they'd had good compliance. State beaches, on the other hand, allowed active uses, according to signage. But people were still managing to use the state beaches passively. KION made a call to California State Parks, but have not heard back.

Residents said they think people are simply willing to take the risk.

“Slap on the wrist only hurts, you know, so much," Ballard said. "But not having your freedom—that, I think, is starting to affect people.”

The county-wide restrictions on beaches were only for Fourth of July weekend.

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Shannon Longworth

Shannon Longworth is a multi-media journalist at KION News Channel 5/46.


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