KEY POINTS

  • Los Angeles County reopens beaches within 75 miles of coastline
  • Activities allowed include running, walking, swimming, and surfing
  • Group sports, picnicking, and sunbathing are prohibited

Los Angeles County beaches reopened for certain activities Wednesday after two months of closure due to the COVID-19 crisis, as officials are slowly implementing measures to ease stay-at-home-orders to resume daily life.

Activities permitted while accessing beaches included running, walking, swimming, and surfing along the county's 75 miles of coastline. Beachgoers are required to wear facemasks and observe physical distancing.

However, activities such as volleyball, sunbathing, and picnicking were prohibited. Beach parking lots, piers, bike paths, boardwalks, and concession stands will remain closed including some of the county's main tourist attractions such as the Venice Beach boardwalk and Santa Monica and Redondo Beach piers.

County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said the authorities are hoping that by giving the public access to such spaces, they will be able to use data gathered to evaluate whether they should slowly lift restrictions in the next three months, Fox News reported. Ferrer added county stay-at-home orders could likely be extended unless expanded testing is put in place.

According to Fox News, Ferrer told the Board of Supervisors, "But without widely available testing for the coronavirus or rapid home kits that would allow people to test themselves daily, it seems unlikely that the social distancing directives and stay-at-home orders would be completely eased."

Some mayors warned beachgoers the state or the county could close the beaches again if proper safety protocols are disobeyed and if people do not comply with the restrictions and crowd the shoreline.

"Please, hit the beach, do your thing, and leave. No hanging out for this first phase," Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand said in a Facebook post.

USA Today reported the LA County, which has roughly a quarter of California's population but more than half of the state's 2,800 deaths due to COVID-19, is taking a more cautious approach, although Gov. Gavin Newsom has allowed several businesses to operate last week under restrictions.

Newsom acknowledged the complexity of patchwork reopening and said, "We have different counties experiencing completely different conditions, and we are now in that phase of trying to accommodate for all of that and more," USA Today mentioned in a report.

Some cities plan to have lifeguards or police to supervise people to obey the social distancing orders and violators might face fines or prosecutions.

Reports mentioned California has more than 70,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, according to data compiled by John Hopkins University, but the number of infections is expected to surge because of a shortage in testing.

Los Angeles County Beach Los Angeles County reopens beaches to public for a limited access after nearly two months of closure due to coronavirus outbreak. Photo: DLSteez / Flickr