Most of San Diego County is looking forward to a weekend with fewer restrictions at parks, but that’s not the case in Chula Vista where COVID-19 cases are increasing at a faster pace.
Friday was the first day of eased restrictions on recreation at San Diego County parks. Households are now allowed to participate in group sports and activities. Before, they were only allowed to walk, jog or bike.
Individual cities are allowed to implement their own rules, but they must not be any less strict than the county’s. Chula Vista, which has the second largest number of COVID-19 cases in the county, used that as an opportunity to limit unsafe gatherings at its parks.
The city says the old rules will remain in effect indefinitely. Unfortunately, signs stating so aren’t stopping visitors.
Sports activities, playing on the playground equipment, and gatherings of any kind at Chula Vista's city parks are prohibited, yet NBC 7 cameras captured some version of all the above Friday afternoon.
"If the county says you can open it, I would say it is the people’s decision whether or not they can come to the park,” visor Alex Efird said.
The rules permit walking, biking and running, but you must keep moving-- no stopping.
"To say we are not going to open up parks again, I think it is a little too much,” visitor Ray Miranda said.
Debbie Kezios and her husband are daily dog walkers at Sundridge Park. The couple plays by the rules and wishes others would too.
“There are too many people, especially the younger generation that don't seem to be taking it seriously,” Kezios said.
Unhappy as some may be, Chula Vista leadership continues its emergency order to avoid a more significant risk than being unpopular.
“As soon as it starts decreasing then maybe open them up but it hasn't decreased yet,” Kezios said.
Park restrooms and parking lots also remain closed. On its website the city reminds residents and visitors to social distance and use mandatory face coverings. Chula Vista’s facial covering order was actually issued a week before the county's.