LA County releases safety restrictions for newly reopened beaches

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Santa Monica State Beach. Photo credit: Pedro Szekely.

Beaches in Los Angeles County reopened today. 

But before you grab the towel and beach umbrella, LA is enacting several restrictions to maintain social distancing.

No chillaxing 
No picnicking, no sunbathing, no sandcastle-building. Coolers and umbrellas are also prohibited. 

Solo sportiness 
Beaches are open for solo active-recreation only: running, walking, swimming, and surfing. Group sports like volleyball are prohibited. Plus any extra amenities — including the bike path — are still off limits.

Facemask rules
If you’re on the sand, you'll have to wear a facemask. But you can shed it if you get in the water. And of course, everyone has to stay at least six feet apart. 

Don’t mess it up
Officials say if it doesn’t go well, they’re ready to close down the beaches again. You also face a fine or criminal prosecution if you break the rules.

Where to go
County beaches from Redondo to Malibu are open — with a couple exceptions. But their parking lots are still closed, so visitors will have to walk a bit to get to the beach.

The city of Hermosa Beach runs its shores, but it’s following county orders, too. It’s also closing its pier, but it will open its parking lots with time limits so people can easily get to the sand. 

The sand in Long Beach is still off-limits, but the bike and walking paths there reopened earlier this week.

“Safer-at-home” continues
Although these beach restrictions for outdoor recreation have been lifted, that is all for now. LA County’s Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said this week that “safer-at-home” orders will continue in some form for several months. 

"We know with all certainty that we would be extending health officer orders for the next three months," Ferrer said Tuesday.  "There’s no way unless there was a dramatic change in this virus."

 Ferrer then released a statement, clarifying that while 'safer at home' orders will remain, restrictions will be gradually relaxed under the county’s five-stage Roadmap to Recovery. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti says it’s important not to “freak out.” He told CNN that reopening is a delicate and changing situation. "That doesn’t mean the order stays in place exactly as it is today," Garcetti said. "But of course we’re still going to have to protect our vulnerable, and our seniors. We’re still going to need to wear facial coverings. We’re still going to need to physically distance."

Garcetti says officials will keep making those steps, even as “safer-at-home” orders continue.