State beach parking lots to close amid uptick in COVID-19 cases

California

SAN DIEGO – Parking lots at state beaches including those in San Diego County again will close to the public starting Friday in an effort state officials hope will limit the number of beachgoers during the upcoming holiday weekend.

The order, announced Wednesday by Gov. Gavin Newsom, comes amid a major uptick in COVID-19 cases as well as hospitalizations in the state. Newsom said that 19 counties representing roughly 70% of the state’s population, also have been asked to close some indoor spaces ahead of the July 4th weekend.

As of Wednesday, all local beaches remain open. But this marks a reversion and one that some fear could lead to additional restrictions at beaches and local industries if the trend continues.

In Encinitas, lifeguards are taking some precautions by offering masks to beachgoers without them.

“We are anticipating those parking lots being closed,” Encinitas lifeguard Capt. Larry Giles said. “People are going to be focusing in on this area. So we are doing things like handing out masks, good signage and just communicating with people so we can keep our beaches open.”

Giles said the coming week will see some changes in Encinitas. Among them, the Cardiff Reef parking lot and day use area positioned to the north of its parking lots with close for the weekend, he said.

Elsewhere, Oceanside city officials said Wednesday they will close parking lots at city beaches “to minimize crowded conditions, limit gatherings, increase physical distancing, and slow the spread of the coronavirus.” With the exception of some Harbor lots near Harbor Village, Oceanside beach parking lots close Friday at 8 a.m. and will not reopen until Monday at 8 a.m., according to the city.

“With COVID-19 cases rising in the County, it’s essential to take measures to break the chain of transmission in our region, and each of us has a role to play,” the city said in a news release.

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