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'We don’t want to get to close to others' | Families safely enjoy outdoors during Memorial Day weekend

Expected high temperatures will lure people to beaches, hiking trails and bike paths.

SACRAMENTO, Calif — Californians are entering the Memorial Day weekend with newly expanded options for beachgoing, barbecue and, of course, retail therapy as stay-at-home restrictions eased across much of the state. 

Some 45 of 58 counties have received permission to reopen most stores and many public spaces by meeting state standards for controlling the coronavirus. And expected high temperatures will lure people to beaches, hiking trails and bike paths. But authorities are warning visitors to practice social distancing and other other anti-virus measures, noting that the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths continues to rise, just more slowly.

In the Sacramento region, Folsom Lake State Park was a hot spot to kickoff the weekend. Folsom Lake Park Ranger Ryan Steele said officers were patrolling the grounds and as of Saturday evening, did not have to write any citations for people not following public health guidelines. 

"We have issued some citations today for a variety of criminal offenses, whether it be boating-related contact on the water and also code violations," Steele said.

Due to the large crowd, which Steele estimated at least 1,000 visitors, he added park rangers had trouble enforcing California State Park and Recreation's guidelines suggesting visitors stay close to home.

"It’s a really challenging endeavor," Steele said. "We aren’t necessarily checking when they come into the gate if they are from the Sacramento area. It just not something we are able to accomplish with traffic."

Shawnelle King, of Citrus Heights, said her family have been out to Folsom Lake every weekend since the restrictions at the park were lifted. Her family practices social distancing by making sure to not be in areas where crowds could form.

"We didn’t go on the beaches or shores or anything, we just stayed on the boat," King said. "We don’t want to get to close to others. There’s no better way to stay six feet apart than when you’re in your own boat."

In Southern California, Humboldt County was among the first in the state to get the governor’s green light to open up restaurants and stores after a two-month statewide lockdown. With about 50 cases reported in April in the county of 130,000, many breathed a sigh of relief.

But this month, county officials reported nearly 30 new cases in a two-week period and the first two deaths. That has prompted officials to take a more cautious approach to reopening.

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