Lifeguards enforce the closure of city beaches. Photo by Chris Stone

San Diego County officials announced Friday that coastal cities may reopen beach access for swimming, surfing, paddleboarding and kayaking on Monday.

“The ocean is a symbol of who we are as San Diegans, and it is appropriate at this point that we open up limited access to the ocean as a step in our continued progress,” said Fletcher at the county’s daily media briefing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Fletcher said the opening is limited to crossing a beach to enter the water. People cannot sit on the beach, and piers, boardwalks and parking lots will remained closed.

He also said it will be up to coastal cities to actually open their beaches and monitor access, and noted that state beaches remain closed. County officials said individual cities could permit walking and running on beaches provided social distancing is enforced.

“Before you head out to your local beach on Monday, I would encourage you to check with your local city to determine if they will be open, staffed and ready,” he cautioned.

As of Friday night, San Diego announced it will permit walking and running on beaches, but Del Mar and Solana Beach will keep their beaches closed. Carlsbad has scheduled a special city council meeting for Saturday afternoon to make a decision. Coronado, Imperial Beach and Oceanside had not yet made a decision.

The county also issued a new public health order requiring all residents to wear face coverings when within six feet of a non-household member beginning May 1.

“We believe this is going to be part of life in the new normal,” said Fletcher. “Getting in the habit of having a face covering when you leave your house — that’s going to be part of the change.”

He said further easing of public health orders regarding access to parks would be announced soon.

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Chris Jennewein

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