Despite issuing an order closing its beaches from 7 a.m. Saturday through 7 p.m. Tuesday, the city of Cannon Beach still saw plenty of out-of-towners ignoring Gov. Kate Brown’s stay-home orders. But the numbers weren’t as bad as they might have been, according to Cannon Beach City Manager Bruce St. Denis.
In his May 7 order closing beaches adjacent to the city of Cannon Beach, St. Denis cited local concerns about non-residents flocking to the Oregon Coast, even as Oregonians are directed to stay home to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
“The City of Cannon Beach has experienced an increasing influx of visitors defying the state and local restrictions and not practicing safe social distancing,” St. Denis wrote, “especially on the beaches adjacent to the city.” St. Denis noted that the warm weather in the weekend forecast, along with the closure of beaches in Seaside, would likely draw visitors from the Portland metro area to Cannon Beach.
St. Denis wrote in an email Sunday that, on Saturday, Cannon Beach police asked about 700 people on the beach to leave, and did the same with about 60 people on Sunday.
“Most were from out of town,” St. Denis wrote, adding that some “had some questions/comments but all were eventually cooperative.”
No arrests were made, and St. Denis said, those numbers were “significantly less than we expected had the beach not been closed.”
The beachgoers were also a smaller contingent than the invasion that occurred over the Spring Break weekend of March 21-22, when huge crowds flocked to the Oregon Coast, despite Brown’s encouraging them to stay home. The tourists and their heedless behavior alarmed local officials along the Coast, who responded by giving visitors 24 hours to leave, closing campgrounds and parks, and banning many short-term rentals and hotel stays.
This weekend, “The crowds were much less than the beginning of spring break,” St. Denis wrote. “On March 21st the city was so full it seemed like July even though ‘Stay Home/Stay Safe’ was already in place.”