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Coronado Mayor seeks to ease beach, ocean closures as County urges patience

Coronado beach closure sign
Posted at 5:53 PM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 20:53:02-04

CORONADO, Calif. (KGTV) - The Mayor of Coronado says it’s time to let surfers back into the water.

“Surfing in the ocean should not be a crime,” wrote Mayor Richard Bailey in a Facebook post on April 18.

He also posted a petition, asking residents of San Diego County which recreational activities should be allowed, assuming “social distancing, face covering, and sanitation guidelines are met.”

“I think those types of policies erode the public’s trust,” said Bailey about the restrictions on surfing, kayaking and other water and beach access.

While he clarified he is not looking for an immediate, full re-opening of beaches which could lead to crowds, he believed some of the restrictions were “arbitrary.”

“My criticism of the activities around the region have been more so of the arbitrary nature of some of the prohibitions in some of the locations in public spaces,” said Bailey.

“I think everyone wants to do their part,” he added. “They just want to be treated like adult and see common sense policy enacted.”

According to a post from Bailey on April 3, one of the reason’s Coronado decided to close the beach was “in an effort to reduce potential exposure to our public safety personnel.”

When asked if reopening beaches at this stage would unnecessarily expose lifeguards to the virus, Bailey said he is working with the other coastal mayors to identify “best practices” for lifeguards, but admitted, “of course there is always going to be risk, so our job is to minimize that risk.”

During Monday’s briefing from San Diego County officials, Supervisor Greg Cox responded to a question about Mayor Bailey’s proposal.

“Mayor Bailey is a good friend and a good Mayor of Coronado, but I guess I disagree with him to a point,” said Cox.

The coastal mayors, as well as the state and county, have had meetings to discuss the beach opening schedule. Cox said the goal is to have a unified policy.

“The worst thing that could happen is to have one or two cities taking a different approach. I think those beaches would be overwhelmed and there would be no way social distancing could be maintained,” said Cox.

On Tuesday, the City of San Diego announced it would be re-opening some neighborhood parks, allowing walking and running but no group sports.

While cities have jurisdiction over beach access, the county controls water access.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer said the city would be ready to open beaches, “as soon as the county authorizes the water access, which could be by the end of the month.”

A full list of parks opened by the City of San Diego on Tuesday can be found here.