Lifestyle Sport Returns After COVID-19 Shutdown
The soundtrack of the South Bay – the familiar “thump, thump, thump-thump-thump” of beach volleyballs being hit from morning until sunset – is back in Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach, CA.
People are on the sand playing beach volleyball again, a welcome activity and sight for locals who were denied their favorite pastime during the COVID-19 shutdown.
After The Strand reopened in early June, people started putting up their own nets and playing the game they love so much. The county, however, has not yet given its approval (see comments below). But that’s not stopping people from getting out and enjoying this big part of the Beach Cities lifestyle.
On Tuesday, June 9, Hermosa Beach made this announcement:
“Mayor Submits Request for Expanded Beach and Recreational Activities: L.A. County’s Public Health Officer is expected to issue an amended Public Health Order this week that would permit the re-opening of additional business sectors that were restricted because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In coordination with mayors of the South Bay Beach Cities, Hermosa Beach Mayor Mary Campbell sent a letter this afternoon requesting the amended L.A. County Public Health Order to permit additional active and passive beach and recreational activities with adherence to physical distancing protocols. Recognizing that day camps are expected to be permitted with the amended health order, and most camps involve the beach and many recreational activities, the letter includes a request to allow informal outdoor recreation activities limited to groups of 10 or less – and would include activities such as volleyball, basketball, baseball, soccer, beach tennis, skate parks, and lawn bowling. Organized sports such as tournaments/ leagues/coaching/special events are not part of the request unless they remain at 10 or less people. Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach mayors sent similar letters to the L.A. County Department of Public Health.”
“It’s good,” one beach volleyball-crazed resident posted on his Facebook account. “It’s good physically and it’s good mentally.”
Beach volleyball is as much a part of the lifestyle in these Los Angeles County towns as the sand, The Strand, the Pacific Ocean and the bars. It is a major part of the culture and courts line the beach practically every block from south Hermosa to El Porto in Manhattan Beach, a four-mile stretch of sand.
State officials have kept a ban on beach activities because they don’t want gatherings of 10 or more people and it’s hard to keep the six-foot social distancing order when you’re diving near a teammate to try and dig a volleyball to save a point.
But there are simply things that people must do for their mental health as well as their physical well-being, and in Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach that means playing beach volleyball. The game can be played with two to a side or as many as six (or even more for weekend hackers).
In typical times, groups gather with a dozen or more friends after work for games until sunset, or arrive by 8 in the morning on weekends to claim a net and space to hang out all day.
That’s not quite the case yet but the thumping sounds of volleyballs being hit is again filling the air in the South Bay.