Beaches in City of San Diego, Encinitas reopen amid COVID-19 pandemic

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Beaches in San Diego and Encinitas will reopen for recreation activities Monday, but numerous beaches in San Diego County remain closed as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has passed the 3,000 mark.

Ocean Beach, Mission Beach and Pacific Beach will open at sunrise Monday, allowing surfers, swimmers, kayakers and paddleboarders in the ocean, as well as runners and walkers on the sand. Imperial Beach will allow access to the beach, but not the ocean, which is too polluted to allow people in the water because of the ongoing issue of runoff from the Tijuana River.

But group gatherings, parking in lots and lying down on the beach are not allowed. Those activities could be lifted in Phase 2.

“The only way beaches can reopen and stay open is if the regulations developed by public health officials and regional lifeguards are followed,” San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said. “Public health concerns from overcrowding led to the closure of beaches in the first place back in March, and decisions will continue to be made with the goal of protecting the well- being of every San Diegan. Please stay classy, San Diego.”

Moonlight Beach in Encinitas will also reopen Monday for walking, running and all water activities except for boating, Encinitas city spokesman Patrick Platt said Sunday. Beachgoers must continue to practice social distancing and are asked to wear face coverings. If those orders are violated, the beach may be re-closed.

Because the county surprised so many beach cities on Friday with the sudden lifting of a ban on ocean activity, not all beaches will be opening Monday.

San Diego County Supervisor Kristin Gaspar joined Good Morning San Diego to discuss the openings.

Beaches in Carlsbad, Del Mar and Solana Beach will not be open. Officials in those cities will consider opening at a later date.

The total number of cases among San Diego County residents is now at 3,043, the county reported Sunday. The total number of deaths in the county remained at 111.

The number of people requiring hospitalization is 696, or 22.9% of cases, and the number of cases placed in intensive care is 227, or 7.5% of all cases.

Of 1,297 tests reported to the county Saturday, 8% were positive.

Two additional drive-thru testing facilities will open Monday. However, the sites at the North Inland Live Well Center in Escondido and the Public Health Center in Chula Vista are only available for residents with doctor referrals.

People gathered near a Pacific Beach lifeguard station Sunday to rally against stay-at home orders and beach closures. About 100 people rallied with U.S. flags and signs next to the PB Shore Club at 4343 Ocean Blvd., with most not following social-distancing orders or wearing facial coverings.

Demonstrators carried signs such as “COVID is a LIE” and “PB IS OPEN.” The rally lasted about 30 minutes, with San Diego police officers looking on, and the crowd leaving the area before congregating again at the corner of Mission Boulevard and Grand Avenue.

Elsewhere, at the San Diego Convention Center, two people sheltering there have tested positive for COVID-19, city officials said Sunday.

One patient was moved to a motel room and the other refused quarantine and left, according to Ashley Bailey of the city of San Diego. The second person was later located and moved to a hotel room for isolation.

The two people who tested positive are the only positive tests to date after more than 660 tests have been given to shelter residents, staff and volunteers, Bailey said.

Testing began on April 16 at the emergency homeless shelter in the convention center as part of a proactive effort to detect anyone who may have COVID-19 but has not shown symptoms.

In Encinitas Saturday, three people were arrested and cited during a rally at Moonlight Beach, organized to demonstrate against beach closures and stay-at-home orders.

The three were cited for violating the stay-at-home order and congregating on a closed beach, according to Lt. Amber Baggs of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

“Several protesters walked onto the beach and sat as deputies began speaking to them regarding the county public health order,” Baggs said Saturday. “The people were given multiple opportunities to comply with the state and county orders. Three attendees refused and were arrested.”

Health officials announced Friday that starting May 1, facial coverings will be required throughout the county for anyone who goes out in public.

The practice is already mandatory in Chula Vista and National City.

Categories: Coronavirus, Good Evening San Diego, Good Morning San Diego, Health, Local San Diego News