ENCINITAS, Calif. (KGTV) — San Diego County beaches brings in huge crowds, especially during a sunny Memorial Day weekend. Aside from teaching water safety and rescues, this year, Encinitas lifeguards are busy enforcing the public health order.
Everyone loves the beach. But no one likes restrictions, especially on a holiday weekend, celebrating those who sacrificed their lives to get us our freedoms. But times are different now.
"We are enforcing," Captain Lary Giles of the Encinitas Marine Safety Center said.
Like every Memorial Day weekend, the Encinitas Marine Safety team is out in full force. They have summer lifeguard tower staffing. But this year, they also have a special COVID-team and Sheriff's deputies driving up and down the coastline.
"There's a lot of educational contact... Several thousand a day from the team," Captain Giles said.
The three main points they drill into visitors are: Masks required, keep a 6-foot social distance, and no stopping or gathering. It gets a bit tricky on the city's 4-foot staircases that take beachgoers to the sand.
"Our beach accesses are very tight when you come down the staircases at Grandview, D Street, and Swami's," Captain Giles said. "The lifeguards at the bottom of those accesses there along with signage, are contacting several people throughout the day."
10News saw about half the people abiding by the rules. Others chose to ignore them.
"Some people think that they're just going to throw their towels down and sunbathe for half an hour," Encinitas resident Larry Durment said. "That just isn't how it's going to roll. Lifeguards are on them within three to five minutes, so they're pretty good about that."
Every few minutes, lifeguards in the Marine Safety tower would use the loudspeakers to remind folks about what is allowed and what is not.
- Allowed: Surfing, swimming, paddleboarding, kayaking, walking and running
- Prohibited: Gathering, sitting, sunbathing, games, and stationary exercises
"As long as we obey the rules, we should be able to keep the beaches open. So let's just do that. That way, we can have fun together," Durment said.
Encinitas lifeguards said their focus is still not to ticket folks. But to educate them about the importance of the regulations.