Beach approaches closed

The city of Long Beach closed its vehicular beach approaches Sunday morning in an effort to enforce social distancing and encourage a weekend surge of tourists to return home. Beach approaches in unincorporated areas of Pacific County remained open at midday Sunday, however.

LONG BEACH — Coastal communities are responding this weekend to a surge of tourism that in some cases has resembled spring break. In the midst of the coronavirus emergency, residents are fearful some of the visitors may leave illness in their wake.

The city of Long Beach on Saturday closed its beach approach streets after the number of visitors clearly violated guidance to maintain social distance to slow the spread of coronavirus. Closed signs and barriers were placed at beach access points early Sunday in an effort to nudge tourists back to their homes.

Closing the beach itself would require state action.

Some communities are taking more overt measures. The City of Westport passed an emergency resolution Saturday closing hotels, motels and vacation home rental businesses, the Daily World reports. The move is a response to large numbers of tourists coming to the beach Saturday despite public health warnings to stay home.

Warrenton, Oregon took a similar action.

Astoria Mayor Bruce Jones wrote Saturday night, "Today we have been appalled by the sight of tens of thousands of irresponsible vacationers flocking to the coast, as if this was just another spring break week, with callous disregard for residents' health and safety. This, despite the governor's strong urging to stay at home and prohibitions on gatherings larger than 25, [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] recommendations against gatherings larger than 10, and the constant urgings of the CDC to practice social distancing and stay home except for essential tasks."

The Chinook Observer is working on a fuller local version of this breaking news story.

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