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Californians Mostly Keeping Social Distance Protocol at Beaches, Police Say

05/03/20

Read the full article on KPBS here.

A week after Californians weary of stay-at-home orders packed beaches, authorities pleaded for weekend visitors to follow social distancing rules: no bunching, keep walking or swimming, and leave the umbrellas at home.

Lifeguards and police were out in force Saturday even in cities that are battling Gov. Gavin Newsom’s new order that took effect Friday and singled out Orange County beaches for closure.

Huntington Beach was mostly empty on Saturday as officers patrolling on foot and on helicopter issued warnings to people who hit the sands. A police spokeswoman said people were cooperating and no citations have been issued as of Saturday afternoon.

In neighboring Newport Beach, police put out barricades and spoke with surfers to advise them of the closure, and said people were quick to comply.

In San Diego, where people can exercise on the beach but not linger, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer praised residents for heeding safety restrictions that public health officials have credited at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

But he urged them to redouble their efforts over the weekend.

“We need your help, we need your cooperation, and we need your patience,” Faulconer said. “We’re not going to lose all of the gains that we’ve made.”

City Lifeguard Services Lt. Rich Stropky told KFMB-TV most people were following guidelines on Saturday.

“Most people understand this is serious and if we don't do this right, we could lose the privilege of using the beaches,” Stropky said.