SANTA CRUZ (KPIX) — A week and a half after Santa Cruz County reopened beaches they are now under new restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Beginning Saturday, the beaches are only open before 11 a.m. and after 5 p.m. and it’s an arrangement many locals are not thrilled about.

“You know, I miss the beach,” one local, would-be beachgoer named Allie told KPIX. “I really feel that if people are acting in accordance with social distancing and staying far from each other, I don’t see the point in staying off the beaches.”

Santa Cruz Beach

An empty beach in Santa Cruz. (CBS)

On a perfect beach-day afternoon, even people who looked like they might be going swimming were stopped.

“It’s difficult because, you know, we’re trying to obey the orders … and help flatten the curve but, at the same time, it is difficult when your outdoor access is indefinitely cut off,” said Katie Kinkor.

It’s not cut off for surfers, though; their access continues. But the strand was off-limits Saturday to people and dogs who otherwise would have enjoyed it. Authorities say the goal is to discourage crowds from out-of-town, allowing locals access to the beach in the morning and evenings.

Not everyone here is on board with that.

“We don’t believe that the 11-to-5 does anything, other than cause even more disruption and more anger and more frustration,” said a man who gave his name as Gunnar and said he lives nearby.

That seems to be the challenge for Santa Cruz — managing crowds on bright, sunny days without delivering too much punishment to those who live right here.

“I do believe that it is mostly to keep people from out of town from coming over the hill and packing the beaches,” Kinkor said. “Which I definitely do agree with because that doesn’t really seem to be following the shelter-in-place, if you’re coming from a different county to go to the beaches.”

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