Carlsbad Police to Take ‘More Stringent Enforcement Approach' on Beaches

Carlsbad police said Monday they did not issue any COVID-19 related citations over the Memorial Day weekend

Beachgoers in Carlsbad

Carlsbad Police said Tuesday they would be "shifting to a more stringent enforcement approach" regarding health order rules prohibiting gathering or sitting on city beaches.

This comes after NBC 7 captured thousands of people packing the shoreline on Memorial Day in defiance of COVID-19 restrictions issued by San Diego County. Carlsbad police and lifeguards did not issue citations.

A Carlsbad Police Department spokesperson said Monday they chose to "educate" and leave it up to the best judgment of beachgoers.

But just to the south, where the city beach turns into Carlsbad State Beach, state lifeguards spent Memorial Day weekend ordering beachgoers to keep moving or they would be cited.

Signs were posted in the sand along the three-quarter-mile stretch of city beach in Carlsbad reminding beachgoers not to stop, sit or lie down on the beach.

The signs also said there are no gatherings of any kind, no games or sports, no shoreline fishing, no yoga, stretching, and calisthenics or similar activities standing in one place.

Yet, without enforcement, lifeguards expected about 3,000 people to show up at the city beach. Typically, lifeguards say they’ll get crowds as big as 4,000 during the Fourth of July weekend.

Now, police say they "will be out on the beach, contacting those who choose not to comply."

One beachgoer told NBC 7 it was appropriate to be there on Memorial Day to honor those who have fallen.

“It’s my respect of them, to show my respect of freedom for what they did for me, for you and anybody else that wants to live here,” said Dina Barrientos of Carlsbad.

Carlsbad police said Monday they did not issue any COVID-19 related citations over the Memorial Day weekend. No one with State Lifeguards was available for comment.

NBC 7's Artie Ojdea spoke to some people lounging at a Carlsbad beach.

Here are the rules for Carlsbad city beaches:

  • Allowed: Walking; running; swimming; kayaking; surfing; bodyboarding; body surfing; paddle boarding; snorkeling; scuba diving from the shore. Paddleboarding and kayaking at the Agua Hedionda Lagoon entrances. Fishing only allowed from a kayak or boat due to county health order.
  • Not Allowed: Topping, sitting, or lying down on the beach (sand). Gatherings of any kind, games, or sports like volleyball, football, frisbee, soccer, yoga, calisthenics, or similar activities where you stay in one place; umbrellas, coolers, BBQs.

To see beach updates from Carlsbad, click here.

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