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City compliance team hands out masks in Ocean Beach after weeks of crowds

Posted at 6:05 AM, Aug 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-13 09:05:25-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - After weeks of large crowds, no masks or social distancing in Ocean Beach, the City of San Diego put together a compliance team to educate people about the county’s public health order.

A team of about 12 people consisting of code compliance, parking enforcement, and park rangers handed out face masks to those who didn’t have them on and asked for compliance.

“There was unacceptable levels of people coming together, congregating together getting really, really close without masks or social distancing,” said Joel Day, the senior advisor for COVID Response and Recovery with the City of San Diego. “We’re asking people don’t congregate here, please wear a mask if you’re around other people, and please socially distance and so far it’s looking pretty great.”

Within one hour, Day said the team handed out about 300 masks.

Earlier in the day, residents noted that Veterans Plaza in Ocean Beach appeared to be less crowded. But as the sun went down, the drum circle returned, and so did the crowds. They cleared out by about 10:30 PM.

Resident Tim Johnson said home and business owners have had to deal with the same scene repeatedly.

Crowds are filling up the park after the farmers market.

“There’s piles of trash that get left and open containers, aggressive behavior,” he said.

On Tuesday, the city put up a fence to keep the crowds out, but it was quickly torn down.

While Johnson said he appreciates the city’s efforts, he said more needs to be done to solve the problem.

“The COVID issue is secondary to the other problem, and that other problem is that illegal, obnoxious, aggressive behavior has continued on without being enforced,” said Johnson.