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Some San Diego County cities close beaches due to COVID-19

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Posted at 3:40 PM, Mar 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-24 16:34:19-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Some beach cities throughout San Diego County Monday closed beaches as the COVID-19 outbreak continues to worsen.

Following Gov. Gavin Newsom's stay at home order for California, several beach-side cities saw beachgoers enjoying the outdoors without the required six-foot social distancing.

Monday, County Public Health Officer Wilma Wooten said the county will issue an amendment to the public heath order limiting social gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic.

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"Before we wanted people to have the opportunity to enjoy walking on the beach while experiencing or maintaining social distancing. It looks like people are not able to do that," Wooten said. "We will be issuing an amendment to our health office's order that if jurisdictions are not able to enforce social gatherings then we will close beaches," Wooten said.

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher added that people are encouraged to get exercise, but "what we don't want is the mass congregating of multiple social units."

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, however, didn't wait to see how that warning will play out around the county.

"I have directed the [city] to move forward with closing all City-owned parks, beaches and trails. There were far too many ignoring physical distancing rules this weekend. The actions of a few can cost the lives of many. Please stay at home, San Diego," Faulconer tweeted.

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The City of Carlsbad also moved to close all city-owned parks, trails, and beaches and asked the State Parks Department to close its properties within the city, following the county's recommendation.

"Due to the number of people continuing to gather at city parks, trails and beaches, the City of Carlsbad announced it will temporarily close these public areas starting March 23 to help slow the spread of the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease," a city release stated.

Carlsbad Police will enforce the closure using an "education-first" approach before issuing citations, the city said.

Also late Monday night, the City of Encinitas announced it would be closing beaches. "The City of Encinitas is closing all City beaches, access points to beaches, and parking lots adjacent to beaches until further notice," city officials said in a news release.

Imperial Beach followed suit, saying it would close its beaches "due to the inability to enforce social distancing," beginning Tuesday at 12 p.m.

Sunday, San Diego Police officers shut down beach parking lots and discouraged large crowds from gathering. Officers began closing off parking lots, and even Fiesta Island, after dense crowds were seen at local beaches.

"The intention is to decrease the transmission of COVID-19," Wooten told reporters. "When we start to see our numbers come down, that's when we will reevaluate."

"All these strategies are being done to flatten the curve."

Also Monday, the State of California said it was closing state parks to vehicular traffic at some park units to reduce the density of visitors.

"State Park Peace Officers, in cooperation with allied law enforcement entities, will continue patrolling all state park units and enforcing all regulations," the state said in a news release.

A full list of closures can be found by clicking here.

Sky10 flew over the deserted beaches Tuesday. Watch live in the player below: