California residents have begun to flood beaches and popular attractions across the state despite the warming weather and growing number of coronavirus vaccinations.
Thousands of people gathered in large crowds over the weekend on famous tourist destinations, including Santa Monica Pier, the Venice Beach Boardwalk, and Old Town Pasadena.
Local health experts are anxious about the situation, arguing many of the people did not wear masks despite meeting with people from other households. They also expressed concerns about the large number of residents coming out to the streets.
Los Angeles County public health officials announced plans on Tuesday that would help the region move into the orange tier. This would allow officials to allow the expansion of capacity for indoor venues and gives businesses the authority to reopen once again.
While authorities allowed expanded activities the next day, many businesses will not be able to fully reopen and continue operation until April 5, Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said.
California officials are rushing to reopen the economy after more than a year of plunging due to the coronavirus pandemic. This month alone, they announced the reopening dates for several tourist destinations, including the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, Universal Studios Hollywood, and Disneyland.
However, Ferrer advised tourists to be aware of the coronavirus threat and continue to follow health guidelines such as wearing face masks and social distancing. The state has vaccinated more than 30% of its residents with the first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine. However, health officials said herd immunity would need a much higher number of about 85%. “It will be essential that each of us not get sloppy,” Ferrer said, the San Francisco Gate reported.
There were more than 100,000 people visiting the Santa Monica Pier last weekend despite the risk of infection. City leaders have since announced a plan to limit the number of visitors using a 7:00 p.m. cutoff. Health ambassadors would also be at the site to distribute free face masks.