SAN RAFAEL (CBS SF) — Marin officials asked Bay Area residents seeking outdoor relief from the current coronavirus shelter-in-place not to come to their county after roadways, hiking trails and beaches were clogged with thousands of visitors.

Dr. Lisa Santora, Marin’s Deputy Public Health Officer, said the surge of visitors was leading to a violation of the social distancing requirement of the shelter-in-place order.

“Marin is usually a place for recreation, but now is not the time,” she said. “Congregating in these popular areas makes the shelter-in-place order less effective and continues to put all of our counties at risk of COVID-19 spread.”

Early Saturday afternoon, Marin County sheriff’s deputies were forced the wilderness area off Sky Oaks Road because it had been overwhelmed with visitors.

“Sky Oaks Rd, which leads to the watershed is closed due to the astronomical amount of people NOT practicing social distancing and home sheltering,” the sheriff’s department posted on Twitter. “It will be closed for the rest of the day. All lots are overflowing.”

There was also bumper-to-bumper traffic on Highway 1 leading to Stinson Beach and the Marin coastline.

“We understand the communities frustrations with the LARGE amount of people traveling to the Coast today and NOT practicing social distancing,” deputies said on Twitter. “We are working with the Public Health Officers to address the issue. Please stay at home!”

Marin’s shelter-in-place order went into effect March 16 along with six other Bay Area jurisdictions, and Gov. Gavin Newsom followed with a statewide stay-at-home directive on March 18.

“We’re all having to make hard choices and sacrifices – for the time being—as we all shelter at home,” Santora said. “We’re asking people not to travel distances to access our beaches. Let’s recreate and get fresh air closer to home.”

Marin County Public Health reminded Marin residents and visitors to:

  • Stay local. Many local neighborhoods are walkable or have trails and parks nearby that are easily accessed by foot or bicycle. Avoid driving whenever possible, and stay close to home when enjoying fresh air and outdoor activity.
  • Continue to practice social distancing. It’s tempting to meet with friends for a day at the beach, but to prevent the spread of COVID-19 everyone needs to be at least 6 feet away from others when outside the household.
  • Marin’s shelter-in-place order limits activity, travel and business functions to only the most essential needs. The guidance comes after substantial input from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and best practices from other health officials around the world.
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