MANHATTAN BEACH (CBSLA) — Friday was the first day of beach closures for the holiday weekend in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, and enforcement was ramping up as coastal businesses braced for a major slowdown.
“This is a bad time — the holiday — for it to be closed down, but it’s necessary,” Lt. Andy Harrod said Friday as he briefed a group of event staffers on their duties throughout the holiday weekend.
The Manhattan Beach Police Department will be using about 14 event staffers and lifeguards to help officers enforce beach and parking lot closures through 5 a.m. Monday morning.
But three blocks away, the owner of Uncle Bill’s Pancake House said the holiday beach closures were a double blow after indoor dining was restricted earlier in the week due to recent spikes in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.
“This is like being taken up in an elevator and then dropped way down to the ground real fast,” Matt Van Amburgh said. “I’d have almost an hour way, inside would be full, outside would be full.”
The number of positive coronavirus cases in Manhattan Beach went from 80 at the beginning of June to 140 this week, and Los Angeles County health officials said the closures were ordered due to a countywide surge.
As of Thursday, L.A. County health officials reported 2,204 newly confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus Thursday and 55 additional fatalities, bringing countywide totals to 107,711 cases and 3,457 deaths. Officials said they would not be releasing updated numbers until Monday due to system maintenance.
But in Malibu, surfers were still out on the water, in defiance of local orders.
“We all wish we could have the beaches open,” Karen Farrer, mayor of Malibu, said. “It’s just not the right thing to do.”
But no enforcement could be seen at Leo Carrillo State Beach where crowds of people gathered on the sand, even though Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered state beaches in L.A. County to close as well.
“I don’t think this is where the emphasis should be,” one resident said. “I don’t think the beach should be closed.”
Beaches in L.A. County were allowed to fully reopen June 11 after being fully shut down in March.
In Ventura County, sheriff’s deputies could be seen on the beaches and bike paths ensuring people were following local orders.
Beaches in Santa Barbara County, and many in Orange County, were closed ahead of the holiday as well. San Diego beaches remained open. In Santa Monica and Venice, officials said that following closure orders will be largely voluntary.