San Diego beaches reopening for surfing and swimming

A photo taken April 15 at Windansea in La Jolla shows a wave rolling in with no surfers out to ride it because of countywide beach closures resulting from the coronavirus outbreak.
(Photo by John King)

Following the county’s decision earlier in the day to lift restrictions on ocean access, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced April 24 that the city’s beaches would reopen in a limited capacity on Monday, April 27.

Faulconer said the reopening would occur in phases.

The first phase, which will go into effect at sunrise April 27, will allow for surfing, swimming, kayaking and single-person paddling. Walking and running also will be allowed, but residents should not sit or lie down.

No gatherings or group activities will be permitted, and social distancing must be practiced.

Fiesta Island, boardwalks, piers and parking lots will remain closed.

Earlier in the day, San Diego County officials announced that restrictions on ocean access would be lifted, paving the way for cities across the region to follow suit.

The decision was made as the county logged an additional 183 cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus and two more deaths. The higher case total was partly attributed to a higher number of tests conducted the day before. Officials said 3,122 tests were conducted April 23 — 867 more than the day before.

“We certainly understand the special importance the ocean has to our community, to our society, to our way of life,” said county Supervisor Nathan Fletcher. “It’s where we swim, surf and recreate. The ocean is a symbol of who we are as San Diegans, and it’s appropriate at this point that we open limited access to the ocean.”

“We believe that we can take this step and this action in a way that does not compromise our efforts to protect public health, but we need the public’s help to ensure compliance,” Fletcher added.

Officials also are mandating that residents who leave their homes wear a face covering if they are going to be within six feet of someone who is not a housemate.

“We believe this is going to be a part of life in the new normal,” Fletcher said. “Until such time that we have a vaccine or a widely available therapeutic drug, there are going to be parts of life that are going to change. And getting used to having a face covering when you leave your house — that’s going to be a part of the change.”

That change goes into effect Friday, May 1, but county officials are encouraging residents to comply with it immediately. ◆