L.A. County Coronavirus Update: L.A. Beaches To Reopen On Wednesday

UPDATED WEDNESDAY, 4 PM On Monday afternoon, a notice appeared on the Los Angeles County Twitter feed announcig that L.A. County Beaches would reopen on Wednesday, May 13.

Shortly thereafter came confirmation that the news was, indeed, true.

Los Angeles County officials announced that area beaches, which have been closed since March 27, will reopen Wednesday for active use only, but parking lots, piers and boardwalks will remain off limits.

L.A. beaches have been shut down even as the coastline reopened for active use in Orange County.

Los Angeles County beachgoers will also be restricted to “active uses.” In other words sunbathing, sitting on the sand, setting up canopies and picnicking will all be off limits, according to the Department of Beaches and Harbors.

Beach parking lots will remain closed, as will the beach bike path and all piers and boardwalks, according to the county.

Beachgoers will also have to wear masks and maintain a six-foot buffer between themselves and others under continued social-distancing requirements.

Orange County’s beaches are also open under active-use-only restrictions, however, many people were seen in recent days lying on towels and sunbathing, in apparent defiance of the requirements. Authorities have said they would try to educate people in violation of the rules instead of issuing citations.

Manhattan Beach Mayor Richard Montgomery urged people to adhere to the rules in Los Angeles County.

“I urge everyone to follow all Public Health Orders for your safety and your neighbors, and please use the beach responsibly by practicing physical distancing,” he said in a statement. “The beach will be open for active uses only, such as walking, running, surfing and swimming. If beach visitors do not follow all the rules, the state of California or Los Angeles County can once again close our beaches. By abiding by these measures, you will play an important role in keeping the beaches open.”

PREVIOUSLY WEDNESDAY, 2:15 PM Over the weekend, Los Angeles County health department inspectors went out to check compliance at newly-reopened businesses, specifically florists gearing up for Mother’s Day.

While some of those reopened businesses did comply with health department requirements, some did not, according to Director of L.A. County Public Health Dr. Barbara Ferrer.

“We did see many vendors that allowed customers into stores,” said Ferrer on Monday, “not following the physical distancing measures and not requiring customers to wear cloth face coverings.”

“Of the 410 businesses observed over the weekend,” she said, “162 were in violation of the health officer order, and our inspectors had to require some businesses to close since they were not able to come into compliance.”

Confusion over the requirements for businesses to reopen may have contributed to the high number of violations. One reporter noted that flower shops had to get up and running very quickly for the holiday. She also said that literature with guidelines was not available in many languages.

To that Dr. Ferrer said that her department is “working, as always, to make sure our information is posted and it’s in multiple languages.” The County Department of Public Health, according to the director, is working with other departments to further those efforts.

“It was a very mixed bag when we went out this weekend,” she said. “I will note that we only had to close a few places, because with good information…most people were able to come into compliance, and to come into compliance fairly quickly.”

But, warned the director, “Do not open until you’re in compliance with the directives.”

“Businesses,” she said, “must post a completed checklist in a public place before they open so that their customers and their employees can be sure that this is a place that is able to provide the required protections.”

Regarding other openings over the weekend, the director noted “larger, but manageable crowds on our trails.” She said golf courses saw smaller crowds than usual, given that it was Mother’s Day weekend.

When asked specifically whether L.A. County beaches will reopen this Wednesday, Ferrer said that the county is working on a plan and hopes to reopen them this week. She was not more specific about exact timing.

“It will be with a lot of restrictions in place, so there won’t be overcrowding” she said. “It’ll be for active recreation only.”

As she does every weekday, Dr. Ferrer updated the county’s COVID-related stats. She reported 39 new deaths related to the virus, bringing L.A. to a total of 1,569 total deaths.

The county saw 591 new cases as of Monday, Dr. Ferrer said, bringing the total number of residents who have tested positive to 32,258.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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