SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The beach where a 5-year-old boy drowned last weekend will be shut down Saturday but not because of the tragic accident.
Tiscornia and Discovery parks near downtown Sacramento are among the most popular venues for swimmers and picnickers on the weekends. But the waters at the confluence of the American and Sacramento rivers have always been treacherous and drownings are not uncommon.
However, in the end, the violation of social distancing rules during the COVID-19 pandemic is what caught the eye of park officials.
“It was crazy busy,” said Marc Perez. “I couldn’t even get in the parking lot, much less the water.”
Perez was ready for a day on the water at Tiscornia Park after his failed attempt last weekend. He didn’t want to get shut out Saturday.
“I heard it, so I figured I’d beat it today before it was too late,” Perez said.
While it’s hard to top a Memorial Day weekend crowd, park officials got wind of social media posts promoting at least three large get-togethers at Tiscornia Park and at Discovery Park across the river, which has a boat launch ramp.
Parks officials apparently tried to contact the people organizing those large events but there were still no guarantees of how many people may eventually still show up or whether they would practice social distancing.
Lauren Huftill-Balzer and her son, Collum, told FOX40 they are conscious of keeping their distance when they are at the park. She said she understands why people might want to come to the two parks.
“They’re getting a little stir-crazy, and so cabin fever beginning to set in and people need to get out,” Huftill-Balzer said.
She rode out to the park Friday knowing it would soon be closed.
It was hard for some to disagree with the one-day shutdown.
“It’s probably better for people not to get out in such large crowds, so I’m with them,” Huftill-Balzer said.
”If we ease up too early, it’s dangerous,” Perez said. “It could flair up again, so I get it.”
The bike trail through the two parks will remain open and parks officials hope there will be fewer people in the two parks when it reopens on Sunday.
There will still be public beach access to the two rivers. Paradise Beach in East Sacramento will still be open, as well as the river access at Sand Cove Park north of downtown Sacramento.