CANNON BEACH, Ore. — Cannon Beach police asked more than 700 people to leave the city's beaches over the weekend, which were closed to prevent large crowds amid the coronavirus pandemic.
With forecasts showing sunny weather and temperatures in the upper-70s, Cannon Beach officials foresaw the possibility of people flocking to the Oregon Coast as a mini-escape, much like they did the weekend of March 21-22 before Gov. Kate Brown issued the statewide stay-home order. Although the order was not in effect, Brown and health officials urged people to stay home that weekend. But thousands ignored the warnings and sought one last sunny coast retreat.
While there haven’t been crowds like that March weekend, Cannon Beach city manager Bruce St. Denis last week said there had been “an increasing influx of visitors defying the state and local restrictions and not practicing safe social distancing, especially on the beaches adjacent to the city.”
To dissuade people from congregating like they did in March, St. Denis closed beaches from Saturday morning through Tuesday evening.
The closure appeared to be effective, although about 760 people didn’t get the memo and were told they had to leave the beach. Many were from out of town. Some asked questions about the closure but everyone was cooperative, St. Denis said. He said the crowd at the beach was much smaller than a typical May weekend.
The beaches at nearby Seaside have been closed throughout the pandemic.