ENCINITAS, Calif. (KGTV) - In a narrow 3-2 vote, the Encinitas City Council approved a plan to reopen Moonlight Beach Monday under certain conditions.
They met Sunday for a Special Meeting after the County of San Diego announced their plan to reopen the ocean for activities.
According to Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, the ocean will reopen with limited access starting at sunrise Monday. Swimming, surfing, kayaking, and paddle-boarding will be allowed on the ocean.
That notion catching Encinitas officials off guard, sending their team scrambling to hammer out the details so they can open the beach.
"I know you were blindsided by it, we all were," Mayor Catherine Blakespear said.
'They dropped this bomb on us for Monday, which was frustrating,' Councilman Tony Kranz said.
The plan is to keep the parking lot closed, allowing people to enter and exit freely from B and C Streets, and exit up stairways, to maintain social distancing.
While the beach will be open, there are boundaries, and people are only allowed to walk or run on the beach, to keep compliance with the public health orders. No one is allowed to play games of any kind, lounge or stand on the beach.
Signs will be posted at the beach encouraging people to wear masks. The Parks and Recreation Department clarified you only have to wear a mask if you cannot maintain a 6-foot distance from others outside your family unit.
During the two hour afternoon meeting officials listened to recommendations by community leaders, saying this proposal allows lifeguards to trigger a shut down if the public isn't complying with social distancing protocol.
They will be supported by the Sheriff's Department.
The biggest concern that came up during the meeting was attracting beach goers from all over, "reality it's a locals only situation, we're not inviting Solana Beach people or Del Mar or Carlsbad people to come to the beach," Kranz said, wanting to protect the community.
The next meeting to look at how Phase I is going is May 6th.
During the meeting public comments were read supporting both opening and keeping the beach closed.
There is a cost that comes with the reopening. The Parks and Recreation Department said they have to pay almost twice as much each day for extra cleanings of the restrooms to stay in compliance with county mandates to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The city is considering other concerns like extra bicycle racks and handicap access.