Recreation

What’s Reopening in San Diego County Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

Here's what you need to know about which places have reopened for recreation in San Diego as the county continues to flatten the curve of the coronavirus pandemic

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What to Know

  • June 8: East and West Mission Bay Parks reopen for park and water uses, including parking lots to 100% capacity. Fiesta Island is also reopen for pedestrians, cyclists, and dog-walking.
  • June 9: All city piers and boardwalks reopen.
  • June 12: Balboa Park Central Mesa reopens, and all parking lots at Balboa Park reopen at 100% capacity

After a lengthy lockdown on parks and beaches in San Diego County due to the coronavirus pandemic, many recreation areas have reopened, but with limitations and new rules.

Here's a look at what's open for recreation in San Diego County as the pandemic continues and restrictions shift a bit, and locals adapt to new health and safety rules at the places we love.


City Piers & Boardwalks

City leaders said all piers and beach boardwalks will reopen to the public on June 9, 2020.

Dos: Practice social distance from others who are using the piers and boardwalks, and wear a face mask. Visit with members of your own household.

Dont's: Any active sports activities, or visiting with large groups that are not all members of your household.


East & West Mission Bay Park + Fiesta Island

The city will reopen East and West Mission Bay Parks on June 8 for park and water uses. Parking lots will also reopen to 100% capacity. Meanwhile, Fiesta Island will reopen to pedestrians, people walking their dogs, and cyclists, also on June 8.

The city said Fiesta Island will remain closed to vehicles until July 6.


City Parks, Some Trails in Open Space Parks (Locations Vary)

The city of San Diego’s neighborhood parks, as well as some trails in Open Space Parks have reopened for “passive purposes” like walking, jogging, or hiking. The city said park parking lots remain closed to curb crowds; the city says it’s best to visit parks within walking distance of your neighborhood.

The city has posted signage on parks and trails outlining the dos and don’ts of recreation in these spaces during the pandemic.

Don’ts:
Passive use means there is no congregating or group sports activities allowed. Visitors also shouldn’t shake hands or engage in unnecessary physical contact. Do not enter a park or trail if you have a cough or a fever.

Dos:
Visitors should maintain a minimum of 6 feet of social distance from others and also wear a face mask when in a park or on a trail.

The city of San Diego is maintaining a list of parks and recreation areas that are open and closed. You can see the full list here or below (as of June 3, 2020).


City Reservoirs

The city of San Diego reopened two city reservoirs for recreation on May 15: Miramar and Murray. The Lower Otay Reservoir reopens on May 16. The reservoirs are open for recreation activities including walking, jogging, cycling, fishing, and boating. The reservoirs will be open during normal hours and regular fishing and boating fees will still apply.

Face coverings and physical distance are required; guests will be monitored to ensure everyone is following the rules, the city said, using an “education-first” method.

Other changes: only half of the parking spaces will be open at city reservoirs to reduce capacity and comply with social distancing guidelines. The restrooms will be cleaned every two hours, the city said.

As of May 15, four other city reservoirs – El Capitan, Hodges, San Vicente, and Upper Otay – are being evaluated for potential reopening at a future date. The city said Barrett and Sutherland reservoirs will likely remain closed all year.


Golf Courses, Tennis Courts, Rec Rentals, Campgrounds

The county has allowed golf courses to reopen with operational adjustments. The state is now allowing the use of golf carts for single riders. To see a full list of golf courses that are now open again, click here.

On May 8, recreational facilities like tennis courts and handball courts were deemed safe to reopen under the same guidelines as golf courses. Social distancing must be practiced, anyone playing a game of tennis together must be living in the same household. A tennis facility's guidance to reopen must be approved by the county first.

The city is also allowing rentals to resume for recreational activities like bicycling, boating, kayaking and surfing.

NBC 7's Alexis Rivas shares modifications to the county's public health order that allows for more outdoor recreation starting this weekend.

Campgrounds will also reopen on a limited basis starting in June. Individuals at one campsite should be from the same household and capacity at each campground will be limited to 50%. It will be up to the jurisdiction that the campground stands in to decide if that site will reopen. For more info on campgrounds, visit the county's website.


Skateparks

The city of Coronado reopened its skatepark on May 15, on a limited basis. Reservations are required to use the facility and must be made 24 hours in advance. No more than two half-hour slots may be reserved per day and two individuals per household will be allowed per half-hour. For information on how to reserve your spot, click here.

The city of Oceanside has reopened their skateparks. For more details, click here.

The city of San Diego skateparks still remain closed.


Beaches

Here's how beach and ocean reopenings look across the county. On June 2, county health officials said beaches can reopen for "passive activities," which includes sitting and sunbathing on the sand.

City of San Diego
City beaches will fully reopen on June 2 to add passive activities like sitting and lounging on the sand.

  • Allowed: Swimming, surfing (not allowed on San Diego Bay), single-person paddling and kayaking in the ocean. Sitting and sunbathing on the sand.
  • Not Allowed: Access to boardwalks (except crossing to get to the shoreline) and piers, parking lots, and Fiesta Island; boating.

San Diego Bay
The Port of San Diego, which manages the San Diego Bay and its waterfront, was gradually reopening public spaces. On May 21, the port allowed some public parking lots to reopen.

  • Allowed: Recreational boating and fishing for vessels where all occupants are members of the same household; jet skiing, kayaking, and paddleboarding; shoreline fishing and swimming for exercise.
  • All boat launches on San Diego Bay are open, as well as launch parking lots: Chula Vista, Glorietta Bay, National City, and Shelter Island.
  • Walkways, sidewalks and promenades were open for walking, running and bicycling.
  • As of May 22, parking lots would be open at the following locations: Shelter Island; Spanish Landing; Tuna Harbor and Ruocco Park; Cesar Chavez Park; Pepper Park; Bayfront Park; Bayside Park; Marina View Park; Tidelands Park. Payment may be necessary at Port of San Diego parking lots.
  • Not Allowed: Stopping, sitting, lying down. Gatherings of any kind, including activities that do not allow for physical distancing.
  • Parks and Piers remained closed.
  • Boat charters, including passenger, harbor tours, and sport fishing charters, are not allowed.

Coastal Cities

City of Solana Beach

  • Allowed: Walking and exercising on the beach and water activities (swimming; surfing; paddling; kayaking). As of June 2, sitting, lying and sunbathing is allowed on the beach. Fletcher Cove will be open for access to and from the beach. Tide Park and Del Mar Shores Stairs will be open only for one-way, single-file access to and from the beach. Seascape Stairs are open for one-way, single-file entry to the beach. Facial coverings are mandatory on all stairways at this beach.
  • Not Allowed: No exercising is allowed on the stairways. Sports or group games are also not allowed on the beach. Fletcher Cove Park will remain closed but may be used for access to and from the beach. Restrooms and showers will remain closed.

City of Carlsbad

To see beach updates from Carlsbad, click here. As of June 2, passive activities like sitting, lying, relaxing are allowed.

  • Allowed: Walking; running; swimming; kayaking; surfing; bodyboarding; body surfing; paddle boarding; snorkeling; scuba diving from the shore. Paddleboarding and kayaking at the Agua Hedionda Lagoon entrances. Fishing only allowed from a kayak or boat due to county health order. Sitting and sunbathing on the sand.
  • Not Allowed: Games, or sports like volleyball, football, frisbee, soccer, yoga, calisthenics, or similar activities where you stay in one place. Parking along Carlsbad Boulevard will continue to be prohibited.

To see a full list of parks in Carlsbad that are open, click here.

  • Allowed: “Passive use” only, such as walking, jogging, running, sitting on the grass.
  • Not Allowed: No active use, such as sports games. This is stricter than the county health order, which allows sports activities among people who live together. All community centers, aquatic centers, athletic fields, sports courts, playgrounds, dog parks, skate parks, and similar areas will remain closed for now.
  • The number of parking lot spaces will be reduced by at least 50%, as required by the County of San Diego health order. Parking along Carlsbad Boulevard will continue to be prohibited.

Information on trails in Carlsbad is available here. City-owned trails will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

City of Del Mar
To see beach updates from Del Mar, click here. Beaches will fully reopen on June 2 to add passive activities like sitting, lying, relaxing.

  • Allowed: Running and walking on beaches; swimming, surfing, and paddling in the ocean. Sitting, sunbathing on the sand. Public restrooms are open again as of June 2, too.
  • Not Allowed: 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.

City of Coronado
To see beach updates from Coronado, click here.

  • Allowed: Swimming, surfing, single-person paddling, and kayaking in the ocean; walking and running on the beach. As of June 2, sitting and sunbathing on the sand are allowed.
  • Not Allowed: Loitering, gathering in groups of any sizes and using fire pits; access to Dog Beach and Sunset Park; parking.
  • Beaches will be closed at sunset.

City of Imperial Beach
To see beach updates from IB, click here. Beaches will fully reopen on June 2 to add passive activities like sitting, lying, relaxing.

  • Allowed: Walking and jogging on the beach but a face covering is required.
  • Not Allowed: Stopping, sitting, lying down on the beach; gatherings of any size; access to parking lots, the street ends, or the pier.

Parks:
Parks reopened include Dunes Park, Portwood Pier Plaza, Reama Park, Rose Teeple Park, Sports Park, and Veteran's Park. Visitors are still required to maintain social distancing, all individuals should wear a facial covering, and all should keep moving, no sitting or standing.

City of Encinitas
To see beach updates from Encinitas, click here.

  • Allowed: Moonlight Beach is open and all other beaches are accessible only from Moonlight as permitted by the tides for walking and running in a select "active zone"; swimming, surfing, paddling, and kayaking in the ocean.
  • Not Allowed: Gatherings of any kind, fire rings, standing, games or other sports; access to parking lots and parking on Coast Highway.

All state beaches are closed including Ponto, Pipes, Georges, and Seaside.

The beach access stairways located at Swami's, D Street, Stonesteps, and Grandview have opened for access to and from the beaches. Facial coverings are mandatory while using narrow staircases. More on Encinitas' current beach rules can be found here.

A popular stairway beach access has reopened in Encinitas. NBC 7's Steven Luke has more.

City of Oceanside
To see beach updates from Oceanside, click here. Beaches will fully reopen on June 2 to add passive activities like sitting, lying, relaxing.

  • Allowed: Running and walking on beaches; swimming, surfing, paddling, and kayaking in the ocean. Sitting and sunbathing is allowed again.
  • Not Allowed: 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.

North County Inland

City of Vista
To see a full list of parks that have reopened in Vista, click here.

Park use may now include family activities as a household unit and parking lots will reopen with half of the spaces available. Walking (dogs on leash permitted), and jogging/running are also allowed all with physical distancing and a face covering if a user cannot keep a 6-foot distance from a non-household member.

City of Escondido
As of May 2, all city of Escondido parks and open spaces are open. Parking lots are open at 50% capacity.

  • Allowed: Active rec areas like basketball, disc golf and tennis courts are open for limited use, by members of a single household only. Walking and exercising at parks and on trails is allowed; locals must wear face masks and practice social distancing.
  • Not Allowed: All play structures at parks remain closed. Boating and fishing at Dixon Lake and Lake Wohlford remain closed. The city is working on a plan to reopen those services.

City of San Marcos
All parks remain closed. For updates from San Marcos regarding the impact of COVID-19 on parks and recreation, click here.

City of Poway
Lake Poway Recreation Area is open with restrictions. Hours will be from 6 a.m. until sunset. The Iron Mountain Wilderness Area and the Blue Sky Ecological Reserve have opened for hiking.

  • Allowed: Walking, running, recreational use, active sports limited to members of a single household.
  • Not Allowed: Parking is limited, boating is closed, the lake’s concession store is closed and water fountains are not accessible. Fisherman’s trail (along the shoreline) remains closed, no organized sports, playground structures remain closed, and the archery range is closed.
Lake Poway Recreation Area reopened Sunday, May 3, with restrictions.

South Bay Cities

City of Chula Vista

Councilmember John McCann announced the reopening of Chula Vista parks, dog parks, and trails.

  • Allowed: Parking at the parks, only "passive" like walking, jogging hiking, bike riding, standing/sitting on the grass, use of dog "off-leash" areas.
  • Not Allowed: All gatherings and organized sports. All restrooms will remain closed. All sports courts, sports fields, skate parks, playground equipment, gazebos, picnic tables, benches, restrooms, and other facilities will remain closed and off-limits.

McCann said you must bring a mask and wear it if you get within six feet of other people who are not in your household.

The city is also opening up its golf course, but with its own set of rules and restrictions. It's recommended you call the course ahead of time at (619) 479-4141 to schedule a tee time.

City of National City

  • Allowed: Parks in National City are open to “passive recreation” like walking, running, and bicycling.
  • Not Allowed: All gatherings and organized sports. All amenities including playgrounds, basketball and tennis courts, athletic fields, and skate park are closed.

East County Cities

City of Santee

Mast Park, Woodglen Vista Park, and Shadow Hill Park, Town Center Community Park East, Sky Ranch Park reopened with limitations in early May 2020. Parking lots are open at 50% capacity to curb crowds.

On May 22, Santee plans to reopen these parks: Town Center Community Park West; Deputy Ken Collier Neighborhood Park; West Hills Park; Big Rock Park, all with restrictions.

  • Allowed: All trails and walking paths in Santee are open. Basketball courts at all reopened parks are open for individual use or by members of a single-family or household. Picnic shelters and grass areas are open for individual use or with members of a family/household. The dog park at Mast Park is open.
  • Not Allowed: Group gatherings, group workouts, and organized sports. The playgrounds at the three parks are also closed. Mast Park’s Disco Golf Course is also closed. The skate park at Woodglen Vista is closed.

Santee Lakes has reopened but with restrictions.

The lake will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. All activities with physical distancing are allowed, including bike riding, fishing, roller-skating, and walking.

The parking lot is open at 50% capacity, no group gatherings, they ask to limit exercise time at the park to under two hours and picnic areas should be for individual use or household members only.

Fishing is allowed is anglers keep a 6 feet social distance between themselves and others. Fishing permits will be sold at the Gatehouse or by outside Park Staff.

City of Lemon Grove

  • Allowed: Lemon Grove Park, Berry Park, and Civic Center Park are open for activities like walking and jogging, but parking lots are closed.
  • Not Allowed: Gatherings of any kind and group sports.

City of La Mesa
For the latest updates from La Mesa regarding the impact of COVID-19 on city recreation, click here.

City of El Cajon
For the latest updates from La Mesa regarding the impact of COVID-19 on city recreation, click here.

California State Parks (Beaches)

California State Parks
In an email sent to NBC 7, California State Parks confirmed these beaches have reopened.

  • Cardiff
  • San Elijo
  • Torrey Pines State Beach - (Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve remains closed)
  • Carlsbad State Beach
  • South Carlsbad State Beach
  • Silver Strand

Restaurant Dining Rooms, In-Person Retail

Under phase 2 of San Diego County’s reopening plan, dining rooms at local restaurants were given the green light to reopen on May 21, with new rules and restrictions. Among the changes, patrons and employees must wear face masks and practice social distancing.

The phase of the reopening plan also opened the door for in-person shopping at local retailers, again with restrictions. By May 25, all in-person retail was reopened across California.

On May 26, San Diego County opened 11 public library branches for new, contact-less pickup service. Here’s how that works.

Hair Salons

On May 26, Newsom issued guidelines for counties to begin reopening hair salons and barbershops under phase 3 of California’s reopening plan. San Diego County was among those approved to reopen its hair salons; the shops will have to reopen with modifications.

Theme Parks & Local Landmarks

As of May 27, San Diego theme parks like SeaWorld, Legoland Resort, the San Diego Zoo, and Safari Park remained closed, but some local attractions are working on proposals to reopen. In Florida, Walt Disney World and SeaWorld were working on similar reopening proposals.

The city of San Diego said Balboa Park’s Central Mesa reopens on June 12; parking lots will also reopen to 100% capacity at that time.

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