NewsLocal News


Fence put up around Ocean Beach Park torn down within hours

Photo Credit: Jim Grant
Posted at 5:29 PM, Aug 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-11 21:13:10-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Crowds gathering at Veterans Park in Ocean Beach may face fines if they don't follow the county's public health orders.

Tuesday morning, city crews put up orange mesh fencing around the park, but a few hours later, witnesses took pictures of two men cutting the fence down.

Residents and business owners have been complaining for weeks about large groups gathering on Wednesday evenings gathered to watch the drum circle and hang out in the park.

Mark Winkie is the president of the Ocean Beach Town Council. He didn't agree with shutting down the park, but he didn't condone tearing down the fence, either.

"Disappointing what happened here this morning, but it's important for people to know, as a town council, we really would like education to come first, to notify people about what they need to do when gathering here on such large quantities on a Wednesday," said Winkie.

The public health orders banning gatherings of more than ten have been in place for months, but Winkie said it's possible not everyone is aware.

"Particularly for the drum circle, no city or county official has been out really interfacing with them, SDPD definitely came out, and I applaud their actions," said Winkie.

Last week, police broke up the crowd, but did not issue citations.

Councilmember Dr. Jennifer Campbell said it's time for enforcement.

"Everyday more San Diegans are dying, so we have to get tough and I'm telling you if this situation that happened last Wednesday night, happens this Wednesday night, there's gonna be a lot of clamp down, so they have got to stop it," Dr. Campbell said shouting.

Violators could be fined up to $1,000.

"By God, that is now the law and, therefore, the county sheriff should be out here arresting people who aren't wearing masks, who aren't distancing, and who are coming together," said Dr. Campbell.

It's unclear if the city will put up a more permanent barrier or if anything will be in place by Wednesday evening.