A group of people marched along South Coast Highway 101 on Sunday to protest the closure of beaches, parks, and trails in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The protest organized by Crista Curtis on Facebook began at 10 a.m. in front of Swami’s Beach parking lot in Encinitas.
“Honestly, I had just had enough. When they closed the Coastal Rail Trail at a city council meeting on Wednesday night, I was sitting around saying, ‘I can’t believe there have been no new cases since April 11 in Encinitas,’” Curtis said.
Encinitas city leaders Wednesday closed a pedestrian path along South Coast Highway 101 from Swami’s Beach to Cardiff Reef Parking Lot, along with the Coastal Rail Trail, in the latest crackdowns on crowded scenic locations.
The oceanside path was putting people in close proximity and some at the council meeting said there were too many parked cars from people driving into the area. Parking along San Elijo Avenue from Santa Fe Drive to Chesterfield Drive is also closed, the council decided Wednesday.
“I agree you stop the congregating of lots of different families. However, there are other ways to do this and California always goes the way of taking your rights away,” said Sian Welch, an Encinitas resident.
The group carried signs of protest state and local stay-at-home orders, Curtis said she spoke to police and made sure the protestors kept walking.
No one was cited or arrested.
NBC 7 reached out to the city of Encinitas for comment and received the following statement:
Many of the public spaces in the City of Encinitas are closed due to COVID-19. We are working with surrounding cities to reopen public space as may be permitted in compliance with the San Diego County Public Health Order.
The city also has a statement about the trail closures on its website:
In a further effort to follow the orders of the State of California and San Diego County, effective April 16, 2020, the City will be closing the Coastal Rail Trail and the pedestrian portion of South Hwy 101 from Swami’s Beach to the Cardiff Reef Parking Lot. Parking along San Elijo Ave. from Santa Fe Dr. to Chesterfield Dr. will also be closed. These closures are necessary to ensure compliance with the Order for social distancing. Understanding that recreating is important for mental as well as physical health, the City encourages Encinitas residents to run and walk within their neighborhoods but do so safely within the parameters of the current Orders.