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Social Distancing Citations On The Rise

Apr 06, 2020 04:52PM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Although signs declare Polliwog Park to be closed, two individuals can be seen walking into the park.

Have you been practicing good social distancing? If you were hanging out in Manhattan Beach parks or the Strand this weekend, you may have been hit with a costly citation, as the city ramped up enforcement of its COVID-19 emergency orders.

At Monday morning's Manhattan Beach City Council meeting, City Manager Bruce Moe reported that there were 129 citations given out from Friday through Sunday that were related to COVID-19 emergency orders.

That number included 30 at Polliwog Park and 48 on the Strand, as well as others at Bruce's Beach, Begg Field, and more, he said.

City council members, who had been critical of city staff on Friday for not issuing citations, approved of the increase in enforcement.

"I don’t know what excuse you could possibly use to go through the park, because every 10 feet there are signs that say “Park is Closed,” said Manhattan Beach Mayor Richard Montgomery at the meeting. "I don’t know what else to say besides 'closed'... Closed does not mean 'you can walk through it'; it means 'closed.'"

The city's emergency order calls for fines of $1,000 for violations of the social distancing requirements. 

Moe also reported that enforcement officers reached out to a total of 357 construction sites informing them of the new stricter social distancing and sanitation requirements.

He said that four construction sites were closed down on Friday for social distancing violations. Those work sites will receive citations on Monday, he added.

Police Chief Derrick Abell also reported that four citations had been issued to cyclists on Ocean Ave. He noted that those citations were for vehicular violations - because the cyclists had been coasting through stop signs - rather than for COVID-19 social distancing violations.

In other actions, the board agreed to prohibit door-to-door solicitations and the dropping of handbills on doorknobs and home entry areas under the current emergency order. 

On Friday, April 10, the City Council will also look at the issue of limiting construction to five days per week (down from six). The idea would be to ban construction during one of the weekdays, most likely Monday. Such a move would potentially provide relief to residents who are now working and doing schoolwork from home on weekdays.

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