SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) — Santa Cruz County’s Health Officer issued a new order shutting down all parks and beaches, and in turn banning surfing, beginning midnight Tuesday due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The order will last until April 15. The order was issued as a necessary measure to deter crowding in recreational spaces throughout the county, officials said. Surfing is prohibited until April 16.

Public playgrounds were already closed in a previous health order, but the new order affects dog parks, skate parks, disc golf courses, basketball courts, tennis courts, pickleball and other recreational courts.

Violations of the new order can result in a misdemeanor punishable by citation or arrest, with fines of $1,000 also possible.

“While the vast majority of Santa Cruz County residents are staying home and following the direction of the County Health Officer, unfortunately some visitors and community members are treating this extraordinary crisis as a holiday,” Sheriff Jim Hart said.

“We are at a critical moment in our efforts to reduce the impacts of COVID-19, and we need to make sure we’re doing everything we can to halt the spread of this disease.”

For local information on COVID-19, go to www.santacruzhealth.org/coronavirus, call 211 or text “COVID19” to 211211. Residents may also call (831) 454-4242 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., seven days a week.

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