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Santa Barbara’s powers-that-be are trying to figure out how to stop Deltopia, the Beach Blanket Babylon of bacchanalian revelry formerly known as Floatopia that’s consumed Isla Vista on the first weekend of UCSB’s spring quarter for the past two decades. All of the organized events scheduled for April 4 and 5 have been canceled. Meanwhile, all of the volleyball nets have been removed from Isla Vista’s parks, the beaches have been declared closed, and fencing has been installed.
But the multi-million-dollar question remains how many students looking to party will show up anyway. The District Attorney has reportedly convened a gathering of stakeholders to figure out what to do then. Social distancing would clearly be an early casualty of any such gathering.
Aside from putting the lid on Deltopia, Santa Barbara authorities do not believe that beach closures are warranted. In Los Angeles, by contrast, many beaches have been shut down.
Hendry’s Beach has drawn the heaviest attendance thus far, but city officials concluded most people there this weekend did a good enough job maintaining their distances on the beach. (Hendry’s, otherwise known as Arroyo Burro, is a weird jurisdictional entity, being a beach within city limits that’s run by the county of Santa Barbara.) City officials are not inclined to shut down any beaches for the time being but reserve the right to change their minds. Skater’s Point, the waterfront skateboard park, was shut today, and basketball nets will likely be removed from city-owned basketball courts.
City Hall has received a fair number of complaints about the large gatherings of workers who congregate at the labor line located by the city’s wastewater treatment plant. One complaint indicated there may have been as many as 150 gathered at the line early Monday morning. City officials are not inclined to shut the line down on the grounds that it will only move to another location. Instead, more signs are likely to be posted in both English and in Spanish regarding the importance of social distancing.
At the Santa Barbara Independent, our staff is working around the clock to cover every aspect of this crisis — sorting truth from rumor. Our reporters and editors are asking the tough questions of our public health officials and spreading the word about how we can all help one another. The community needs us — now more than ever — and we need you in order to keep doing the important work we do. Support the Independent by making a direct contribution or with a subscription to Indy+.