As COVID-19 cases surge in California and the holiday weekend approaches, parking lots at state beaches in San Diego County will be closed -- and other cities or agencies may follow suit.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday that state beaches can stay open in San Diego County this Fourth of July weekend but their parking lots would be closed to limit overcrowding.
A day prior, San Diego County leaders and health officials said local beaches wouldn’t close for the Fourth of July but individual cities have control over their beaches. San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox said San Diegans who visit the beach this weekend should only do so with members of their own household and maintain physical distance from other groups.
State beaches in San Diego County include: Cardiff, Leucadia, Moonlight, San Elijo, Torrey Pines State Beach, San Onofre, Carlsbad State Beach and Silver Strand.
Beachgoers should visit the state parks website for the latest COVID-19-related updates, as the situation is dynamic and ever-changing, said California State Parks public information officer Jorge Moreno. Site visitors can see which beaches or parks are open and if parking is available, Moreno said, "and to learn about the new guidelines in place to mitigate the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the outdoors."
On Thursday, the city of Oceanside said it would temporarily close its beach parking lots this weekend, too, starting at 8 a.m. Friday through 8 a.m. on July 6.
The holiday closure includes beach parking lots west of the railroad tracks, except for certain lots near the Harbor Village, said Oceanside officials. Like many communities in San Diego County, there will be no fireworks displays this year in Oceanside or neighboring Camp Pendleton.
“With Los Angeles County beaches closed, San Diego County State Beach parking lots closed and several Orange County beaches following suit, it was deemed prudent to close Oceanside beach parking lots for the holiday weekend in order to minimize crowded conditions, limit gatherings, increase physical distancing and slow the spread of the coronavirus,” a statement on the city’s website stated.
For those using the beaches in Oceanside, the city said gatherings should only be with those in one’s household and face masks should be worn.
Newsom tightened coronavirus restrictions throughout California this week. Ahead of the busy Fourth of July weekend, he closed state beaches completely in Los Angeles and Ventura counties to mirror public health orders in those areas and to encourage people to celebrate the holiday safely at home.
Other Beaches in San Diego County
NBC 7 is checking with individual cities on the statuses of their beaches and/or beach parking lots for the upcoming July 4th weekend. We will update this information as we gather new details.
What’s Open on Fourth of July weekend:
- All city and state beaches and beach accesses will remain open during Fourth of July weekend in Cardiff, Encinitas and Leucadia
- City beach parking lots in Encinitas: Swamis, Moonlight Beach, Beacons Beach and Grandview Beach will remain open
- Cardiff State Parks Campground (San Elijo) will stay open
- City controlled Pacific Coast Highway 101; legal curbside parking areas will remain open in Cardiff
- Visitors should follow all safety rules on signs posted at beach and public accesses, practice social distancing of at least 6 feet and wear face masks
Parking lots in Cardiff (San Elijo) controlled by state parks will be closed at: Seaside Beach, Cardiff Reef and the North day-use parking located at the north end of the Cardiff Campgrounds.
Deputy Mayor Terry Gaasterland told NBC 7 that Del Mar follows the county guidelines when it comes to closures.
“If the county closes the beaches, Del Mar will also,” Gaasterland said. “Likewise, if the neighboring coastal cities [Solana Beach, Encinitas, San Diego] or the Torrey Pines State Park decide to close their beaches, Del Mar will be inclined to do so as well.”
“If the coastal cities don't act in unison, holiday crowds that come to the regional shoreline would be concentrated on the beaches that remain open. For tiny Del Mar, with two miles of coastline but just one mile with beach access points, being the only open beach in the region would overwhelm our lifeguard services, parking and streets.”
City of San Diego:
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s press secretary, Gustavo Portela, told NBC 7 the city will continue to closely monitor COVID-19 metrics and work with county public health officials.
“Beaches are currently scheduled to continue operations under the safe beach reopening plan developed by lifeguards and health experts,” Portela said about the holiday weekend.
Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey said beaches will remain open this holiday weekend.
“The city of Coronado will continue to follow the guidance from county health orders,” Bailey said. “Given the county health orders allow for beach activities and we have a large beach which allows for adequate social distancing, we are planning to keep beaches open at this time.”
For now, Imperial Beach is open this weekend and IB city manager Andy Hall said IB is working closely with other coastal cities to “reduce confusion and frustration.”
“I am hopeful that all beach cities in the county will coordinate our efforts in a manner that emphasizes community safety but also reflects the public’s interest,” Hall said.
San Diego Bay Beaches:
Port of San Diego spokesperson Briane Page said the port had no plans to close beaches on San Diego Bay this holiday weekend.
Restrictions Tighten, San Diego on State's 'Watchlist'
In addition to cracking down on beaches this week, Newsom ordered bars and indoor dining at restaurants to shut down again in 19 counties due to the rising COVID-19 cases throughout the state. San Diego was the only Southern California county not included in that list Wednesday, but the county is on the state’s “watchlist.”
If San Diego County continues to hit triggers outlined by the state, the county will need to scale back parts of the reopening. San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said this includes a three-week pause on indoor activity – including indoor restaurant dining – as outlined by the governor’s order.
San Diego County's public health officer, Dr. Wilma Wooten, said she expects San Diego County to be on the state's watchlist by Friday. If that happens, then by July 6, county public health officials expect to shut down indoor settings.
San Diego County saw another record-setting day of COVID-19 cases onf Wednesday. Public health officials reported 474 new cases out of 7,825 reported, with a 6% positive rate. There were seven new deaths, bringing the total of COVID-19 deaths in San Diego County to 372 since the pandemic reached the county in mid-February.
Thirteen community outbreaks in a seven-day period were also reported by public health officials Wednesday. Get the latest local coronavirus numbers here.