Beach bike path, Ocean Front Walk close as well
By Sam Catanzaro
Santa Monica beaches are closing following an LA County order to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
On Friday afternoon the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health ordered the temporary closure of all public beaches, beach bike paths, public trails, and beach access points to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
“The County of Los Angeles and its Department of Public Health observed an unusually high volume of beach and trail users on March 21 and 22, which seriously impeded the beach and trail users’ practice of safe and necessary social distancing measures. This heavy amount of beach and trail use by numerous groups of people does not allow for safe social distancing, and therefore seriously impedes community efforts to stem the local transmission of COVID-19. Accordingly, this Order is necessary to both enforce social distancing measures and stem the spread of COVID-19 within the community,” reads the order.
The LA County order requires the immediate closure of Santa Monica Beach, Santa Monica’s Beach Bike Path and Ocean Front Walk. Palisades Park Neighboring Venice and Will Rogers beaches are also closing.
Under LA County code, “‘Beach’ means a public beach or shoreline area, inclusive of all appurtenant areas such as, by way of illustration and not by limitation, beach facilities, bicycle paths, promenades, service and emergency roads, parking lots, pedestrian stairways and access-ways, landscaping, slopes, jetties, creek beds, revetments, drains, and all navigable waters within one thousand feet from the public beach or shoreline area, bordering the Pacific Ocean owned, controlled, or managed by the County, in incorporated or unincorporated territory.”
In addition, Santa Monica’s Community and Cultural Services Director directed the temporary closure of Palisades Park effective midnight, Friday, March 27 through midnight Monday, March 30, 2020 due to the park’s proximity to the beach to support the County’s Order.
“Santa Monicans cherish our walks on our beach, but we are complying with County Health recommendations to protect all of us and our families from preventable exposure to illness,” said Mayor Kevin McKeown. “The beach is a regional resource, and we’re all part of the regional effort to flatten the curve of COVID-19. We can still get our exercise and fresh air while avoiding congregating in crowds and maintaining six feet of physical distance. Otherwise, we’re all safer at home.”
According to the County order, violation is a misdemeanor punishable by imprisonment, fine or both. In addition, the order requests the Sheriff and Chiefs of Police in all cities, and lifeguards to ensure compliance.
“Though the County order allows for citation, Santa Monica will continue to focus on education this weekend and encourage the public to follow the Safer at Home orders, which are focused on community health,” Santa Monica said in a statement.
This order is effective immediately, beginning March 27, 2020 through April 19, 2020.