City Taking Extreme Steps In COVID-19 Prevention
In a dramatic effort to keep people at home during the COVID-19 pandemic, the city of Hermosa Beach in Southern California is taking the extreme measure of closing not only its beach to residents and visitors, but The Strand, as well.
Keeping people off the beaches is one thing but closing The Strand is another – for many it is the cultural heartbeat of this Los Angeles South Bay beach city. This policy will be effective Saturday, March 28, at 6 a.m. The city provided no timetable for when it will be open again.
“We understand the desire to be outside and in nature is more powerful than ever and being out in nature is permitted if people avoid crowds and maintain six feet of distance from non-household members,” said Hermosa Beach City Manager Suja Lowenthal said.
“While most people are staying home to slow the spread of COVID-19, the actions of a few who choose not to follow the rules can cost the lives of many. The sooner we close the beach and Strand, the better our chance to slow the spread of COVID-19.”
To implement the closures, signs and barriers will be put up at access points to the beach and Te Strand and the Hermosa Beach Police Department will be patrolling the beach to enforce the closures.
“We are hoping for voluntary compliance, and police officers will initially be informing the public about the closures,” said Hermosa Beach Interim Police Chief Michael McCrary. “But police officers will start writing citations and imposing fines, if needed, to keep the public safe.
“These closures apply to everyone because the beach belongs to all Californians, and the police cannot effectively enforce limited access for just local residents or select groups to use the beach and Strand.”
In a press release, the city stated this action was taken “because people were unable to maintain the required distance of a least six feet from people who are not members of their household.”
The Strand, the concrete walkway that goes parallel to the beach – and continues up the coast all the way past the Santa Monica Pier – is the centerpiece of social activity in Hermosa. Locals run on it, ride bikes on it and a few fortunate people actually live on it in owned or rented houses.
It is a roadway of non-motorized transportation, which people use to go to to Pier Plaza and the bars and restaurants (now all closed, of course) and to visit or meet up with friends. It is also a prime place for exercise. As well as the place to go to watch spectacular sunsets.
It also provide access to the beach; without access to it people cannot walk on the beach.
This is a major emotional blow to residents, who enjoy being outdoors and are getting cabin fever from the #stayhome order of Gov. Gavin Newsom. It is also a signal that the city of Hermosa is taking the COVID-19 situation very seriously.