Police patrol county beaches to dissuade crowds during stay-at-home order

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SAN DIEGO — The San Diego Police Department’s chief of police is urging the public to stay home to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

Officers want to prevent the massive crowds seen at local beaches last weekend as many county residents ignored calls to practice social distancing.

Less than a week later, city-owned beaches are now closed off and empty.

Officers are regularly patrolling San Diego beaches, making sure crowds stay away from beaches and local parks.

“I understand it’s an inconvenience,” SDPD Chief David Nisleit said. “But the sooner we all do this, the quicker we get back to our normal lives.”

Nisleit said officers are educating people on what is closed and why. If necessary, officers will issue citations that can result in jail time or fines of up to $1,000.

“We really don’t want to use enforcement during this, especially as a lot of people are out of work right now,” Nisleit said. “We don’t want to add the fiscal burden to that. We will use that as kind of a last tool, but we’ve really seen a lot of great cooperation.” 

On Thursday, San Diego police confirmed five officers have been tested for coronavirus. Those officers are in self-quarantine as they await the test results.

Meanwhile, other officers are protecting themselves by maintaining six feet of distance between other individuals and, if necessary, using goggles, masks and gloves.

“We’re coming to work for you,” Nisleit said. “But we really need you to follow the rules and stay at home for us so we can do our jobs so we can defeat this virus. That’s what we need people to do.”

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