San Diego County

Encinitas Approves Opening Moonlight Beach With Restrictions in 3-2 Vote

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Encinitas has approved a motion to reopen Moonlight Beach for walking, running and water activities with restrictions on Monday.

The beach will open at 8 a.m. and entrances at least 6 feet wide will open, but all other beach access points will be closed, according to the city. Facial coverings should still be worn where non-household members are present and you cannot maintain a six-foot separation.

The boundaries of the beach will be dictated by the tides and shall be marked by black and white checkered flags at the north and south ends, the city said.

encinitas moonlight beach map
City of Encinitas

Council discussions touched on the city's ability and willingness to meet the county's sanitation requirements for beach restrooms, the ability to enforce a possible beach capacity, and staffing abilities.

The restroom will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. with cleanings every two hours, the council said.

The meeting came after the San Diego County Health Department's surprise announcement Friday that ocean activities would be allowed starting Monday.

"Unfortunately, the cities were anticipating an opening around May 1 and weren't given much advance notice of the county's prohibition being lifted," said Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear in a release.

Mayor Blakespear, councilmembers Kellie Hinze and Tony Kranz voted yes, while Joe Mosca and Jody Hubbard voted no.

The council said it will continue to evaluate Moonlight Beach's reopening and possibly make changes.

In Phase 1, all water activity, including swimming, surfing, paddling, and kayaking would be allowed. Walking or running on the beach would also be allowed in an "Active Zone" that will be prepared by the city.

"No gatherings of any kind on the beaches," the motion states. "No stopping, standing, sitting or lying down and no chairs, blankets, coolers, or anything stationary. No games or sports on the beach."

All beach parking lots will be closed and parking on Coast Highway will be prohibited, the motion said.

"Law enforcement will closely monitor adherence to the County of San Diego Public Health order prohibiting gatherings," the motion said.

In Phase 2, an intermediate phase with no date to begin scheduled, the entire beach would be opened to all activity without restrictions.

Three people were arrested and cited at Moonlight Beach on Saturday for violating the stay-home order and congregating on a closed beach, according
to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

The arrests took place during a protest rally against beach closures and the stay-home order.

Surrounding cities -- Carlsbad, Solana Beach and Del Mar -- have not yet reopened any of their beaches.

CORONAVIRUS IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY: What You Need to Know: Latest Developments | Resources | How to Help | What Has Reopened? | Photos: Coronavirus Impact in SD

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