Mission Trails Regional Park was a popular site for people to exercise amid coronavirus restrictions.
Mission Trails Regional Park was a popular site for people to exercise amid coronavirus restrictions. Photo by Chris Stone

San Diego closed its beaches, parks, boardwalks and trails on Monday after those areas were crowded on the weekend despite social distancing orders to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The announcement by Mayor Kevin Faulconer came after the county officials warned that parks and beaches will be closed if local law enforcement cannot ensure social distancing.

“The actions of a few can cost the lives of many,” said Mayor Kevin Faulconer. “It is simply irresponsible to congregate.”

Officials said they will ask anyone in violation to leave, and issue a misdemeanor citation if a person refuses.

“You need to stay close to home and get your exercise there,” said Lifeguard Division Chief James Gartland.

The cities of Carlsbad and Del Mar also closed their beaches, parks and trails on Monday.

The actions follow the appearance of large groups at San Diego beaches over the weekend, prompting San Diego Police to close parking lots. Two popular hiking trails in the Cleveland National Forest were also closed.

Earlier Monday, Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County’s chief health officer, said the coronavirus health orders were being amended to allow cities to close outside spaces.

“It is a decision to be made by each jurisdiction based on their level of confidence in their ability to ensure social distancing at their parks or at their beaches,” explained Supervisor Nathan Fletcher at the county’s regular afternoon media briefing on the pandemic.

Fletcher said many county parks and recreation areas remain open, and a complete listing is available online.

“We are encouraging folks to get outside and exercise and enjoy the outdoors, but you have to maintain social distancing,” he said. “What we don’t want is the mass congregating.”

Updated at 5:10 p.m., Monday, March 23, 2020

A closed beach in Del Mar. Photo by Emily Jennewein

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.