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Laguna Beach

 Volume 12, Issue 63  |  August 7, 2020


Laguna’s beaches closed for the 4th and 5th – governor shuts down indoor dining even longer

By BARBARA DIAMOND

All city and county beaches in Laguna will be closed July 4th and 5th. County parking lots will also be closed. 

The closures were announced Thursday, to go along with the governor’s shutdown for the next three weeks of all indoor eateries, bars that do not serve food, and other establishments that draw crowds inside.

Hoping to stem the flood of visitors that annually inundate Laguna on the Fourth of July, the City Council on Tuesday had voted unanimously to close city beaches on Saturday, but gave City Manager John Pietig the prerogative to extend the closure to Friday and/or Sunday at his discretion. 

Starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, all city beaches and their related access points will be closed to the public until 5 a.m., July 6, according to Pietig’s announcement on Thursday. 

The Police Department will increase monitoring and enforcement of the areas, and citations can be issued to violators. Fireworks of any kind at any time are prohibited and violators of the ban also may be cited for a misdemeanor offense, which carries a fine of up to $1,000 and jail time of up to six months.

Closure signs will be placed at all beaches and access ways. Marine Safety Chief Kevin Snow advised the council on Tuesday that there are 32 public access ways, not to mention private houses on the beaches. 

COVID 19 Laguna's Main

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

City and county beaches in Laguna will be closed on July 4th and July 5th

Snow predicted that a certain number of people would make their way onto the beaches. 

“We have to close the water,” he said.

Laguna, which had closed its beaches for the Memorial Day weekend, was joined for this holiday by Newport Beach and Huntington Beach, prior to the county announcement. The recent surge in COVID-19 cases has been attributed by some health officials to the crowds in public places on Memorial Day weekend. 

City officials kept a watchful eye on neighboring cities as they debated closures. 

“It’s not just the Fourth of July,” said Councilman Peter Blake. “What about the rest of summer? I’m going to the beach every day. People are not wearing masks or keeping social distancing. I am a loss for words, which is rare for me. But if we close the beaches, we have to enforce it.”

Blake said the city needs a comprehensive plan to cope with the summer influx. Assistant City Manager Shohreh Dupuis said a plan is in the works.

“For the safety of our community, we need to control the number of visitors that come to town,” she said. 

The decision to close the beaches for even one day was not taken lightly, according to Mayor Bob Whalen.

“It is clear that we all need to do more to stop the spread of the virus, and I urge everyone to comply with the governor’s orders to wear masks and maintain social distance,” Whalen said in a statement issued Wednesday. 

Pietig’s statement included the warning that the situation is fluid and the information provided is subject to change. For the latest information on city services and guidelines for local businesses, go to https://bit.ly/2NJotJh.

 

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut is our Chief Photographer.

Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Marrie Stone, Maggi Henrikson, Samantha Washer, Stacia Stabler and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists. Scott Brashier is our photographer.

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