Los Angeles County beaches reopened Wednesday morning for limited use after being closed six week ago because of the escalating coronavirus crisis.
In allowing people to go back to to the shorelines, county officials have imposed major restrictions. These include requiring beachgoers to wear facial coverings when they’re not in the water, and only permitting the area to be used for physical activity and exercise.
Here’s what you can and can’t do under the new rules, as well as the closures that remain in effect.
- Individual or family ocean activities (examples include surfing, swimming, kayaking, paddleboarding, body surfing)
- Individual or family active recreation and exercise (examples include walking, jogging and running)
- Sunbathing, sitting or lying on sand
- The use of chairs, beach umbrellas, canopies or coolers
- Group or organized sports, such as beach volleyball
- Gatherings or events
What remains closed:
- Beach parking lots
- Bike paths on the sand
- Piers, boardwalks and walkways
- Beach accessways
- Volleyball nets
In addition to those restrictions, the county has instituted a number of health and safety restrictions.
The following is mandatory when going to the beach:
- Wearing a face covering when out of the water and around others, (children under the age of 2 and kids with breathing problems are exempt from this)
- More than 6 feet physical distance from others at all times (except between members of same household)
- Maintaining social distancing practices, keeping at least six of physical distance between you and others outside your household at all times
- Those who are sick, or live with someone who is sick, must stay home
If all goes well, parking lots could partially reopen and beachgoers may be allowed to bring things like chairs and umbrellas in the next phase of beach reopenings, according to Nicole Mooradian with the L.A. County Department of Beaches and Harbors.
Depending on whether people adhere to restrictions, and provided overcrowding isn’t a problem, that might come in six weeks, Mooradian told KTLA last week.
But officials also emphasized that the process will be a slow one as the county — which is the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in California — looks to mitigate the number of cases.
“We’ll have to pay a lot of attention to what that means in a county with as many people, with 10 million people,” county health director Barbara Ferrer said Monday. “Like, are we able to keep our beaches from getting crowded? Are we able to keep people moving? Are we able to have all of us wear our face coverings when we’re going to and from places where they’re going to be other people?”
L.A. County manages and operates 20 beaches along 25 miles of the county’s 75-mile mainland coast.