Written by Beckett Glass (News Writer)
“I have three young kids, and I have no intention of taking them to a playground during a pandemic, I certainly want to be able to take them to the forest and beach and let them run around.” This is said by Mr. Conger, an English teacher at SLVHS. The pandemic has drastically changed the way life works in our county, state, and country. With the parks reopening in Santa Cruz County, several questions are raised. “How will social distancing be enforced?” or “Will people employ responsible social distancing?”
The parks district of Santa Cruz County has jurisdiction over multiple parks, like as Quail Hollow Ranch and Junction Park. Despite the opening of the parks, not all facilities are available. For example, the bathrooms and playgrounds will remain closed, but (multi-use) trails will remain open as well as beaches, but social distancing should still be observed. The Parks Department of Santa Cruz County has also taken part in the enforcement of Social Distancing. According to the Director’s Assistant, there will be signs put up to remind people to implement social distancing.
The Parks Department in a press release is encouraging people to exercise in their local parks and neighborhoods instead of taking road trips to parks and beaches farther away. The department also said that it is of critical importance for people to stay at home in order to preserve the safety of the individual, as well as the community. A visitation surge has made the required six feet of social distancing an impossible task, driving the decision to close parking lots at beaches. The release also stressed the importance of not gathering in groups, because of the possible fines to the individual, which are up to $1,000. The release also stressed the importance of staying at home in order to flatten the curve.
Since Santa Cruz County Parks does not have any rangers, the Sheriff’s Department will have to enforce social distancing. The Public Information Officer of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Dept. Ms. Keehn was asked, “If the Sheriff’s Dept. is going to be enforcing social distancing in county parks how will they?” Ms. Keehn explained that the patrol deputies and sergeants that will visit the parks and beaches to make sure people are following the shelter in place order. Deputies are ensuring that people from different households are not gathering in groups and are following social distancing. Violating the shelter at home order can result in a misdemeanor charge and a fine of up to one-thousand dollars. It could also result in up to ninety days in jail. The fine amount or jail time is determined by the judge assigned to the person receiving the citation.
In these trying times, we all must do what is necessary to help protect our community. Please, stay at home and only exercise in your local neighborhood in order to help the curve go down and to mitigate the casualties of this crisis on our community. The Mandalorian Supercommando Codex (Mandalorian code of honor) states that the fifth rule of the Resol’nare (The Six Rules) is to “contribute to the welfare of your clan.” I ask that everyone holds to this to protect our community in these times of strife. Long is the war only by surviving it will we persevere (Yoda, S1: E1 Star Wars: The Clone Wars “Ambush”).