County Public Health Director: “Please don’t go driving to other beaches”
By Sam Catanzaro
As a heatwave sweeps across Southern California, local officials are advising LA County residents to avoid the beach and not to drive to neighboring Ventura and Orange County where beaches have begun opening.
“Please don’t go driving to other beaches,” said Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer speaking at a Wednesday press conference. “When you go, you run the risk of running into people who are asymptomatic but they’re able to infect you, and then you’ll bring that infection back to L.A. County,”
This week the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted to keep the county’s beaches open, which include Aliso Beach, Salt Creek Beach and Dana Point Harbor. All city beaches remain closed in Orange County, including Seal Beach and Laguna Beach.
“We…should be encouraging people to practice social distancing, be out, get fresh air [and] recreate,” said Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner. “I don’t feel like we should do the wrong thing and burden our residents because colleagues of ours on other borders and surrounding communities did the wrong thing burdening their own residents.”
Orange County also allowed golf courses to reopen this week.
The city of Ventura also eased its hard closure on parks and beaches this week. Under the rules, residents can now visit the city’s beaches, pier, parks and promenade if they maintain their distance, remain active and not gather in groups. People are allowed to walk on the pier and sand but are prohibited from sitting down or standing against railings.
“The City has some of the lowest COVID-19 rates in Ventura County because of the hard work and sacrifices made by our residents,” said Ventura Mayor Matt LaVere. “We want to provide an opportunity for our community to enjoy our amazing resources in a socially-responsible manner while we continue to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
In contrast, the City of Santa Monica is reminding residents that beaches in the city and county remain closed.
“For Angelenos, hot weather is normally beach weather. Right now, is not a normal time. We all have to remember that coronavirus means we must change normal behavior. For your safety, the beach is absolutely closed,” said Mayor Kevin McKeown. “So are the beach bike path, Santa Monica Pier, the walkways near the beach, and even the cliffs overlooking the beach at Palisades Park. Our Santa Monica Police Department will be there to protect public safety. We don’t want to write tickets for people who disobey County health orders, but we are prepared to if anyone forces us. Please get outside in your neighborhood. Enjoy the clear skies and fresh breeze. But don’t forget face coverings, don’t forget physical distancing, and don’t come to the beach. Santa Monica looks forward to welcoming you back again when it’s safe.”
Los Angeles Police Department Senior Lead Officer Michael Moore shared a similar message in an email Wednesday writing “Will Rogers State Beach will not be open…I wanted to assure the community that LAPD will be deploying additional officers to the area in an effort to deter any potential problems.”