It started with a press release on Sunday, April 5, a week ahead of Easter, meant to reaffirm that holiday or no holiday, social distancing rules still apply at county parks.
It ended with a press release on Tuesday, April 7, announcing that county parks will close for Easter weekend, "in light of concerns about the potential for gatherings."
In between, there was a lot of backlash.
The county had sought to strike a balance between the shelter-in-place order— that prohibits social gatherings and requires people to remain at least six feet apart, including during outdoor recreation—and the tradition of many local families to celebrate outdoors at county parks on weekends.
"The health and safety of county residents is of the utmost priority of the Board of Supervisors," according to today's press release. "We stand in full support of the Health Officer’s shelter-in-place order, which clearly specifies that gatherings OF ANY SIZE with individuals outside of your household are NOT permitted. We also recognize the importance of fresh air, sunshine, and exercise for the physical and mental health of our residents and appreciate the widespread compliance with shelter-in-place guidelines we have seen in our parks so far."
The closures begin at dawn on Saturday, April 11. There is no end date, and a decision will be made at a later date on whether and when to reopen county parks for the remainder of the shelter-in-place order.
(Other parks in Monterey County remain open on a case-by-case basis; most state parks and beaches are open, for example, but parking lots and bathrooms are closed; city park policies differ city to city, but all playground equipment is closed.)