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Residents concerned that Oceanside beaches, golf courses under soft closure

Posted at 5:55 PM, Mar 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-28 13:57:19-04

OCEANSIDE, Calif., (KGTV) -- While many of San Diego County's beaches and parks are now off-limits due to the Coronavirus, Oceanside remains open. But some residents fear that a beach and golf course soft-closures only encourage people to ignore the stay-at-home order.

Unlike the taped up beaches in San Diego, Del Mar, Solana Beach, and Encinitas, Thursday evening, Oceanside decided on a soft-closure. The parking lots, Pier, picnic areas, and playgrounds are closed. But the beaches remain open.

"We figured, as long as we can encourage people and enforce that social distancing, we would be able to keep those recreational opportunities available," Samuel Liston with the City of Oceanside said.

One person taking advantage of Oceanside's open beach was surfer, Oliver Dillard of Bay Park. Earlier, he was at Pacific Beach but was told by a police officer to leave.

"I'm just in the moment. Being here now," Dillard said.

But not everyone is thrilled.

"My reaction to them keeping open the beaches in even a soft way is horror," Oceanside resident, Frances Pope said.

Pope suffers from a rare Autoimmune Disorder. She lives in a senior community in Oceanside. She says if her local beach is the only one that is open, people will flock to it, and you can forget about social distancing.

"We're going to have a swarm of people, and it's not just Oceanside that is going to be hit by that," Pope said. "They're going to go back to their homes, inland or down south, and they will infect their families."

It is not only beaches. Oceanside's City-run golf courses are also one of the last ones to remain open. According to the Pro-shop, golfers must walk on the course. No golf carts will be rented unless a person has a disability placard from the DMV.

Still, Pope says this "halfway measure" is not enough. She wants everyone to take the virus seriously and stay home.

"Every single person that can stop one trip out helps to keep everyone else safe," Pope said.

The city says in regards to the beaches, they have lifeguards on duty. And they will keep a close eye.

"We are constantly reevaluating these processes. Every day, multiple times a day, and if there are problems, we will have to do more," Liston said.