Local park officials warn community members to not disregard social distancing

Posted at 7:13 PM, Apr 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-17 22:16:52-04

Some community members are disappointed by those who are not following the social distancing rules while visiting parks.

Connie Yanez, a Santa Maria resident, said she has been quite surprised by the number of people congregating at places like Waller Park near Orcutt despite social distancing suggestions from the CDC and the state.

“These people don’t understand that until it hits home and you experience the hurt to see your loved ones suffering from something like that. I think we need to continue the social distancing," said Yanez.

Yanez said she currently has a close friend in the intensive care unit who has been on a ventilator for 17 days and adds that disregarding the recommendations is irresponsible.

“They are near and dear to my heart and his wife had the virus as well, she’s home recovering but he has a long road ahead of him,” added Yanez.

Jeff Lindgren, parks superintendent for Santa Barbara County, said that while staying physically active is important, those who continue to ignore the rules could ruin the park privileges for everyone.

“If you arrive at a park and you see that the park is busy, we suggest that you come back later or another day – we want to keep the parks open as much as possible but if there is overcrowding in the parks, then we may have to close those parks,” said Lindgren.

According to Lindgren, there are currently 40 park rangers in Santa Barbara County distributed among the 27 parks and 20 open spaces, which include natural preserves.

Another resident said she believes everyone should do their part to not only ensure each others' safety, but to avoid any further extensions to the shelter-at-home order.

To view the CDC's park recommendations, click here.