Outdoor public spaces re-open across Ventura County

Gov. Gavin Newsom advises people to continue to practice social distancing

As of April 23, Ventura County officials have chosen to open up some areas of public recreation that were initially closed as a result of the spread of COVID-19. Among these were parks, beaches and golf courses. 

As the heat has begun to ramp up — hitting highs of 95 degrees in areas such as Thousand Oaks — many have turned to local beaches as a means of cooling off. According to the Ventura County Star, beaches are only open “for activities like biking, walking, running, swimming and surfing,” and authorities request that only locals visit. Social gatherings are still banned and so are stationary activities such as sunbathing. 

Furthermore, golf courses have been opened up to the public once more, with slight changes due to COVID-19. At the Sterling Hills Golf Club in Camarillo, the manager walked around the course while golfers swung to make sure that there was 6 feet of distance between everyone there. Some courses have been flooded by the sheer amount of people looking to play. 

In addition, roughly 150 miles of Conejo Valley trails have been reopened for public use. On Mondays through Thursdays, trails will be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., while on Fridays they will be open from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. During the weekends, trails will once again be closed. 

On April 17, the County of Ventura Park Department announced that day-use parks within the county would be open for bicyclist and pedestrian use, though county campground parks will still remain closed for use. 

“It [has been] really great getting out there back into nature and to just smell the grass, breathe in fresh air and hike through the trails again,” senior Srijan Gattem wrote to the Talon. “Of course, practicing social distancing and wearing masks weren’t optimal but we have to do our part to flatten the curve and hopefully things will get back to normal soon.” 

In light of Thursday, April 23, which marked California’s deadliest day since the outbreak of the COVID-19, Gov. Gavin Newsom urged residents to continue practicing social distancing. 

“People are prone to want to go to the beaches, parks, playgrounds and go on a hike,” Newsom said. “If it is open, just abide by social distancing.”

However, after a number of pictures spread via social media depicting large crowds of beachgoers flooding Southern California’s sandy shores, Newsom expressed his disappointment. He further expressed his hopes that Californians would choose to act carefully and not take unnecessary risks. 

“Those images are an example of what not to see, people, and what not to do, if we’re going to make any progress that we’ve made these past few weeks extend into the next number of weeks,” Newsom said. “The reality is, we are just a few weeks away — not months away — from making measurable and meaningful changes to our stay-at-home order.”