Nearly 300 visitors ordered to leave Pacifca beaches, SoCal beaches set to reopen

Police in Pacifica were busy last weekend.

They approached more than 1,400 people at beaches and open recreational areas. Nearly 300 people lived more than 10 miles away and were ordered to leave.

And in an effort to discourage crowding, officials banned umbrellas, tents, barbecues, coolers and chairs from all beaches in San Mateo County. 

Meanwhile, two cities in Southern California, Laguna Beach and San Clemente, are reopening their beaches after they submitted plans to avoid overcrowding and allow for physical distancing in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, state officials said Monday.

Both submitted plans to reopen their beaches that adhere to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order, the California Natural Resources Agency said in a statement.

Laguna Beach will only allow active recreation, which means jogging, surfing and swimming are fine but lying in the sun and bringing a cooler aren’t, according to a copy of the city’s plan. The city will also initially open the beaches only on weekday mornings with plans to expand access over time.

San Clemente reopened its beaches for active use and will reopen its pier Tuesday but won’t allow fishing yet, the city said in a statement.

Newsom ordered all beaches in Orange County closed last week after crowds jammed some beaches the previous weekend. The city of Huntington Beach filed a lawsuit trying to get its beach reopened, but a judge refused to block the state’s order and set another hearing on the issue for next week.

Some residents have supported Newsom’s move and said out-of-towners had descended upon their communities as Los Angeles County shut down its beaches, making it difficult to get through congested streets while keeping safe distancing. But many have opposed, arguing the beach is the place where they can most readily get exercise and fresh air, which are also vital for their health and well-being.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.