Lifeguards circle the beach to keep people off the beach since the city closed parks and beaches.
Lifeguards circle the beach to keep people off the beach since the city closed parks and beaches. Photo by Chris Stone

Plans were announced Wednesday for a phased re-opening of San Diego County beaches and bays once the region has met certain county public health goals regarding COVID-19.

The region-wide plan calls for a two-phase reopening across all coastal cities in the county, which would begin with beaches and bays open initially to walking and running only, according to San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

Physical distancing would be required, and face coverings strongly recommended.

Gatherings would be prohibited under Phase 1 of the plan, and piers, boardwalks and parking lots would remain closed.

The ocean would be open to all recreational uses, while San Diego Bay and Mission Bay would be open to boating and single-person paddling only.

Under Phase 2, all activities that allow for physical distancing would be allowed at the beaches, bays, piers, boardwalks and parking lots.

Faulconer said the plan would not go into effect until the county lifts restrictions on water access, which would be based on the region meeting certain unspecified “milestones” determined by county public health officials.

Guidance from county officials would also determine the transition between Phase 1 and 2, according to Faulconer.

Regional leaders would also reserve the option to “peel back or dial that down to protect the public on any of these phases, if necessary,” Faulconer said.

The plan was unanimously approved Tuesday by a coalition of regional lifeguard and coastal law enforcement agencies and received approval from the mayors of Carlsbad, Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, Encinitas, Imperial Beach, National City, Oceanside, San Diego and Solana Beach.

The announcement came one day after San Diego reopened a number of neighborhood parks for limited use.

— City News Service

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