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Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Morro Bay public boat ramp opens to tourists

Posted By on Wed, May 6, 2020 at 8:23 AM

Morro Bay’s public boat launch ramp is officially open for business—to tourists and locals alike.

After a near month-long closure followed by a restricted, locals-only reopening, Morro Bay Harbor Department opened its ramp to all members of the general public and discontinued its restriction on out-of-towners on May 1, just in time for the first day of salmon season.

“We wanted to give people the opportunity to go and catch some fish despite previous closures,” Harbor Patrol Supervisor Becka Kelly told New Times.
click to enlarge OPEN FOR BUSINESS After a near month-long closure followed by a restricted, locals-only reopening, Morro Bay Harbor Department opened its ramp to all members of the general public and discontinued its restriction on out-of-towners May 1. - SCREENSHOT FROM YOUTUBE
  • SCREENSHOT FROM YOUTUBE
  • OPEN FOR BUSINESS After a near month-long closure followed by a restricted, locals-only reopening, Morro Bay Harbor Department opened its ramp to all members of the general public and discontinued its restriction on out-of-towners May 1.

The popular SLO County ramp closed on March 26 over concerns that the crowds and high volume of boaters usually associated with the beginning of spring would make it difficult to enforce social distancing measures. That was just before the opening of rockfish season, and Kelly said the closure led to a lot of disappointment in the boating and fishing community.

Then on April 22, just after SLO County Public Health officials announced plans to slowly reopen some businesses and activities in the county, the Morro Bay Harbor Department opened its ramp under restricted hours and with a big caveat—only SLO County residents were allowed to enter.

The response to that effort, which included identification checks at the ramp, was mixed, Kelly said. Some were sad, she said, and others were happy that locals were being prioritized.

Though the ramp itself is open, fish and boat cleaning stations are still closed, hours are restricted, and social distancing measures are still being enforced, according to Morro Bay City Manager Scott Collins. And Morro Bay isn’t encouraging boaters and tourists to come use the ramp.

“Our message continues to be that folks should stay in their home towns to recreate,” Collins wrote in an email to New Times on May 5. “We will monitor this weekend, and can always modify if we experience issues.” ∆
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