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Laguna Beach

 Volume 12, Issue 64  |  August 11, 2020


COVID-19: Laguna shuts down city beaches, adjacent parks, and trailheads

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Supervisor Bartlett supports the city’s position and takes it further.

Laguna’s beaches and adjacent parks closed at 5 p.m., Monday. It’s anybody’s guess when they will reopen. 

The decision, made by the City Council at an emergency closed session on Sunday afternoon, was triggered by the folks who flocked to Main Beach, Heisler Park, and popular trails over the weekend, ignoring state, local, and health officials’ advice to stay at home and out of one another’s reach.

“I’d like to thank our businesses and our residents who are doing their best to comply with the governor’s order to stay at home,” said Mayor Bob Whalen on Monday. “My advice to everyone is to avoid all contact possible.”

COVID 19 Main Beach

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

City beaches and adjacent parks are closed – Main Beach yesterday 

The council, which had previously closed basketball, tennis and volleyball courts, and children’s playgrounds, also directed city staff to close the access trails to county wilderness parks on Monday morning and to request the County of Orange to close its beaches within the city limits, over which the city has no jurisdiction, or permit the city to do so. 

The request did not fall on deaf ears.

Fifth District Supervisor Lisa Bartlett said Monday that she would introduce a recommendation at today’s (Tuesday) board meeting to close all 42 miles of beaches, parks, trails, and adjacent parking lots.

“If we close just Laguna Beach, the crowds will just move to Newport or Dana Point,” said Bartlett. “I have been in contact with the officials of the three coastal cities (Laguna Beach, Dana Point, and San Clemente) in my district, and they are very firm about closing open spaces.

“Our first priority is public safety and that means we lock down the coastal areas.”

COVID 19 trails

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

Trailheads closed following Council’s emergency closed session on Sunday

Bartlett also plans to urge Governor Newsom to close the entire California coastline. 

The governor’s “Stay at Home Order” permits outdoor activity as long as folks keep six feet away from people who are not part of the same household. 

Serious breaches of social distancing in public areas were observed and reported this last weekend in Laguna. Physical contact is a primary means of spreading the virus, health experts say – touching benches, railings, and structures in public parks, or for that matter on city streets, according to the city’s press release. 

“I am extremely pleased with what the council did,” said Councilman Peter Blake. “Further, I think we should quarantine the homeless at the Alternative Sleeping Location. I do not think they should be out in public, putting themselves and others at risk.”

The closures ordered by the council will be enforced by the Laguna Beach Police Department, which is practicing what it has preached to the public. Sgt. James Cota, department public information officer, said Chief Laura Farinella has staggered schedules and no one shares an office. 

“Please do your best to observe the Governor’s orders and please know the city has made decisions for your protection and the protection of first responders,” said Cota. 

Violators will be cited. 

The situation remains fluid, according to the city’s press release issued on Sunday. Statements from the city are subject to change.

 

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut is our Chief Photographer.

Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Marrie Stone, Maggi Henrikson, Samantha Washer, Stacia Stabler and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists. Scott Brashier is our photographer.

We all love Laguna and we love what we do.

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