San Diego

County Clears Way for Some Beaches to Reopen Monday, at Cities' Discretion

Some coastal cities claim they weren't expecting a decision from the county so soon, and say they won't be ready to open beaches on Monday

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If you've been wondering when you'll be able to take a dip in the ocean, the answer is Monday -- but not at every San Diego-area beach.

San Diego County's Public Health Order has been modified to allow for surfing, swimming, and other in-water activities at some regional beaches, effective April 27 at sunrise.

However, the order calls for individual cities to make decisions on when they will open up their beaches and allow access to the ocean. Cities will also decide hours for openings and set guidelines more strict but not less strict than the county's guidelines.

The county has allowed individual cities to make decisions on when they will open up their beaches and allow access to the ocean, reports NBC 7's Alexis Rivas.

"Before you head out to your local beach on Monday, I would encourage you to check with your local city to see if they will be staffed, open and ready or if it will come at a later date,” County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said.

The county's announcement came at its daily news briefing Friday afternoon. Last week, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said regional lifeguard agencies spearheaded a plan in conjunction with coastal mayors, law enforcement, and health officials to ready a plan for when beaches were cleared to reopen.

Faulconer said the city of San Diego was set to operate under Phase 1 of the regional plan come Monday. The mayor said locals should keep in mind the California stay at home order remains in effect.

For San Diego city beaches that are opening access to the ocean Monday, only swimming, surfing, single-person paddling, and kayaking is allowed. Those who use the ocean should practice social distancing.

For the beaches and shorelines, visitors may only walk and run; there is no stopping, sitting or lying allowed. Boardwalks, piers, and parking lots at San Diego city beaches will remain closed, as well as Fiesta Island.

Boating is also not allowed. The city said no gatherings of any kind or "non-physical distancing activities" may take place at open beaches.

The Port of San Diego said single-person kayaking, paddleboarding, and swimming would also be allowed on San Diego Bay beginning at sunrise.

Hours or other city restrictions at individual beaches have not been announced. State beaches and parks remain closed, and decisions regarding those spaces will not be made locally.

NBC 7 Meteorologist Sheena Parveen caught up with the Mayor of Coronado to talk beach reopening plans while paddleboarding.

Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey said some beaches in his city would reopen Monday morning.

Imperial Beach will also open its beach Monday for walking and jogging. The water is currently closed due to pollution but it will be open for water activities once tests come back negative.

Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear said the regional plan had a target reopening date of May 1 and said cities weren't given enough of a heads up prior to the county's announcement. Only Moonlight Beach in Encinitas will open Monday, the Encinitas City Council voted Sunday.

"Some coastal cities, including ours, are concerned about their ability to achieve the short turnaround in staffing, signage and monitoring required by this announcement, so all beaches may not open right away," a newsletter sent from Blakespear read.

The city of Oceanside said its beaches would be open for limited use starting Monday. Beach parking lots there are closed, and people must maintain 6 feet of distance from others not in their household.

The city of Carlsbad said its beaches and recreation areas would also remain closed, pending a special meeting on May 1 to review partial reopenings.

A joint statement from the cities of Del Mar and Solana Beach initially said their beaches will remain closed until further notice "while the two cities respectively evaluate the necessary staffing, protocols, and logistics in order to reopen the beaches in accordance with the County’s requirements, stated in their yet-to-be-released amended health order, and to protect the health and safety of city personnel and the public."

Then on April 28, Del Mar announced it will reopen its beach on Thursday, April 30, for individual active exercise such as walking, running, surfing, swimming and paddling into the ocean. The entire length of the beach will be open, but visitors cannot stop moving nor can they play sports.

County officials have announced a two-phase plan to reopen San Diego’s beaches. NBC 7’s Nicole Gomez breaks it down for you.

The decision to proceed to Phase 2 will be made in coordination with the county, according to Faulconer.

Under the second phase, all socially distant activities will be allowed at beaches and shorelines, and boardwalks, piers, parking lots, and Fiesta Island will open. Gatherings and non-physically distant activities will still be banned.

Restrictions on active recreation at the beach are still in effect -- the public cannot sit, lay down, or partake in group sports or group activities. The public is allowed to walk across the beach to enter the water, then exit.

"To be clear, our Public Health Order removes restrictions on people entering the water for purposes of swimming, surfing, paddleboarding, and kayaking. Local cities are responsible for opening up the beach access and it will be upon each and every one of them to determine if they want to open up the beaches on Monday morning," Supervisor Fletcher said.

The county also amended its public health order to make facial coverings mandatory for any member of the public coming within six feet of a non-family member.

Here are the rules for the beaches that are open in San Diego County:

San Diego

  • Allowed: Swimming, surfing (not allowed on San Diego Bay), single-person paddling and kayaking in the ocean; walking and running on the beach
  • Not Allowed: Stopping, sitting, lying down on the beach; access to boardwalks and piers, parking lots and Fiesta Island; boating; gatherings of any kind


  • Allowed: Swimming, surfing, single-person paddling and kayaking in the ocean; walking and running on the beach
  • Not Allowed: Loitering, laying on the sand, gathering in groups of any sizes and using fire pits; access to Dog Beach and Sunset Park; parking
  • Beaches will be closed at sunset

Imperial Beach

  • Allowed: Walking and jogging on the beach but a face covering is required
  • Not Allowed: Entering the water (temporary closure is due to pollution); stopping, sitting, lying down on the beach; gatherings of any size; access to parking lots, street ends or the pier


  • Allowed: Access to Moonlight Beach only for walking and running in a select "active zone"; swimming, surfing, paddling and kayaking in the ocean
  • Not Allowed: Gatherings of any kind, stopping, standing, sitting or lying down; games or other sports; access to parking lots and parking on Coast Highway


  • Allowed: Running and walking on beaches; swimming, surfing, paddling and kayaking in the ocean
  • Not Allowed: Standing, sitting or lying down; gatherings, group exercising or group games, recreational boating; access to the pier or the amphitheater; access to the strand except for vehicles (residents will be allowed to access their property); parking lots are closed

Del Mar

  • Allowed: Running and walking on beaches; swimming, surfing and paddling in the ocean
  • Not Allowed: Standing sitting or lying down; games, sports and activities such as volleyball, frisbee, yoga and calisthenics; The 17th Street/Beach Safety Center parking lot will be closed except for disabled access vehicles


  • Allowed: Running and walking on beaches; in the water, visitors may swim, surf, kayak (from the Agua Hedionda Lagoon entrances), bodyboard, body surf, paddleboard, snorkel and scuba dive from the shore; fishing but only from a kayak or boat
  • Not Allowed: Standing sitting or lying down; bringing umbrellas, coolers or BBQs; gatherings of any kind, including to play sports like volleyball, football, frisbee, soccer, yoga and others where you stay in one place

Solana Beach

  • Allowed: Walking and running is allowed on the beach; swimming, surfing paddling and kayaking will be allowed only within an "exercise zone" and only to those with experience; swim zones will be set up at Fletcher Cove and occasionally at Tide Park and Del Mar Shores; Fletcher Cove will be open for beach access.
  • Not Allowed: Gatherings of any kind and sports and games on the beach; Fletcher Cove Park will remain closed, as will restrooms and showers; Tide Park and Del Mar Shores stairs will only be open for exiting the beach, while Seascape Stairs will be open only for entry to the beach. The parking lots remain closed

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