Even with parking lots closed, Carlsbad beaches a holiday draw

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CARLSBAD – Parking lots near Carlsbad beaches were shut down late this week in an effort to reduce crowds during the holiday weekend. But that didn’t stop people from celebrating at the beach.

On Saturday, lifeguards, police and volunteers from the Community Emergency Response Team were out in an attempt to ensure safety for beachgoers. For much of the day, they were handing out hundreds of masks to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 during the holiday weekend.

“(Closing the lots is) a smart move to try to condense the traffic flow our here, keep everybody safe,” beachgoer Jonathan Johnson said. “I’m not against it.”

Officials announced the closure on Friday. The lots are expected to be closed all weekend, along with a number of other state beach parking lots in San Diego County, all for the purpose of limiting the number of beachgoers amid an uptick of coronavirus cases in the state.

“It’s a good idea, but it’s kind of a bummer that it has to be that way,” Trevor Williamson said. “Overall, I think it’s a pretty good idea because you know cases have been spiking a lot.”

That didn’t stop the Johnson family from driving to Carlsbad from Los Angeles.

“(Traffic) wasn’t bad at all,” Johnson said.

Carlsbad officials said Saturday that some families appear to be trying to follow health and safety guidelines, such as wearing masks and social distancing, when appropriate.

City crews say they’ve given out more than 100,000 masks so far.

“There’s a much higher level of awareness and knowledge,” said David Harrison, the city’s emergency preparedness manager.”They understand it’s important to do so.”

That includes the Johnson family, who plan to celebrate the holiday at a distance.

“(We’ll) just wash our hands and keep our mask on,” Johnson said.

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