SAN JOSE (KPIX) – As six Bay Area counties and the city of Berkeley extended the emergency stay-at-home order until the end of May, Governor Gavin Newsom warned Californians that crowding onto beaches and parks could trigger a resurgence in the virus.
“This virus doesn’t take the weekend off. This virus doesn’t go home because it’s a beautiful sunny day around our coast,” Gov. Newsom said.
As life under the Bay Area’s shelter-in-place order enters a seventh week, it remains a study in contrasts. Warm weekend weather drew thousands of restless Californians to beaches up and down the coast.
Conversely, commercial, business, arts and retail areas in many cities remain virtual ghost towns. In downtown San Jose, a single bicyclist idled near a deserted San Pedro Square.
“You want to be very respectful of people who are at risk. But walking around, you see so many people out and they’re having a tough time,” says Clay Jubran after a jog at Vasona Park, in Los Gatos.
Law enforcement agencies across the Bay Area have leaned heavily on education and voluntary compliance to keep people home and away from others who could spread the virus. The San Jose Police Department and the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office have issued a handful of citations each. The Oakland Police Department has given out zero.
“We went from being the epicenter of the entire United States, to having one of the swiftest responses,” says Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors President Cindy Chavez. “I think the next phase is, how do we keep it together enough, so we can all go back to work, we can all go back to our families and we can all re-connect again.”
But the longer the lockdown is in effect, the greater the temptation to break ranks.
“People are really itching to get outside. The weather has been so nice. And I think as long as you keep a safe distance and are responsible, then hopefully it’s not an issue,” says Tiffany Duesman who recently visited Half Moon Bay.