Oakland officials will be out in force this Memorial Day weekend to ensure that residents are keeping their distance from one another, especially at Lake Merritt.
The city has banned parking and food vendors at the popular park after warm weather drew hundreds to the park on Apr. 26.
“I’ve seen people just not giving an ’s’ about it,” says Oakland resident Sean Moses, who has seen many people out and about without masks.
“It does appear that the parking restrictions and limit on vendors did have an impact and people are getting the message to give the lake a break,” says Mayor Libby Schaaf. But warm temperatures and the Memorial Day holiday, which for many marks the start of summer, could create extra temptation, which is why there will be more police patrols will be around the park to enforce restrictions and make sure people are social distancing.
Crowds at the lake also prompted the city to shut down some city streets, so that residents would have more room to spread out for exercise and recreation, especially as shelter-in-place orders have significantly reduced vehicle traffic.
The city’s “Slow Streets” program has been steadily expanded since it was first announced.
“Every week we are trying new things to make our city more healthy and more compliant with the very important orders we’ve gotten from our health official,” says Mayor Schaaf.
“We’re over 300,000 deaths,” says Moses, who is urging his neighbors to heed the warnings. “I don’t want any in this community so let’s just be real about this.”