L.A. County officials say they may reopen beaches as early as Wednesday morning with a range of restrictions, including closed parking lots, piers and boardwalks. Those limits are to be gradually lifted in phases, and details are still to be determined by county public health officials.
“We don’t want a stampede to the beaches,” said Nicole Mooradian, public information officer for L.A. County’s Department of Beaches and Harbors, on Friday. “Right now we’re planning for Wednesday.”
Under the county plan, the first phase of reopening will allow active recreation, including walking, running, swimming and surfing; however, sunbathing, coolers, beach chairs and canopies will be forbidden. Also forbidden: gatherings, volleyball and athletic competitions.
“We want people to wear masks when they’re not in the water,” Mooradian said.
This first phase of reopening may last “about six weeks, but it could be shorter and it could be longer,” Mooradian said. “It just depends on how many people come, and what the attendance looks like.”
In phase 2 of county’s plans, beaches would allow visitors in family groups of up to 10, masks required; and chairs, coolers and canopies would be permitted, along with tightly limited parking in parking lots.
In that phase, piers and most boardwalks would be closed, and athletic competitions, youth camps and large events would be forbidden, but the county would open (with restricted capacity) the 22-mile Marvin Braude Bike Path, which runs from Torrance north to Pacific Palisades.
In phase 3, which could be months away, groups of up to 30 people would be allowed, as would youth camps, but still no large events or athletic competitions. Concession stands would probably open, parking lot capacity would grow and the county would resume granting filming permits (which are typically available in non-summer months).
In the fourth phase, the county would resume traditional beach operations, including fully open parking lots and large events.
But all of these plans are changeable, Mooradian said, based on how the public responds and the status of the pandemic.
One possible limitation: County beaches could be closed on the Fourth of July because of the threat of unmanageable crowds, Mooradian said.
Mooradian said county officials have been in conversations with the county’s coastal cities, which will likely soon have announcements of their own.
L.A. County estimates that its beaches attract as many as 50 million visitors yearly.