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Advice to Beachgoers: Maintain Social Distancing

May 13, 2020 09:09AM ● By Jeanne Fratello
If you're headed to Manhattan Beach or one of the other newly opened L.A. County beaches, the one thing to remember is simple: Maintain social distancing.

That message came across clearly as Mayor Richard Montgomery and others discussed the re-opening on the beaches at Tuesday night's Manhattan Beach City Council meeting.

"I have no doubt in my mind that if we fail, they will shut us down," said Montgomery. "If you all gather, they will shut us down. They gave us plenty of warning. They’re watching us to see what we’re doing. Please follow all the rules. I don't want to come back and tell you they’re closing down the beach again."

Los Angeles County beaches, including Manhattan Beach, re-opened as of 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning, as per new county restrictions. The beach is open as an "activity beach," meaning that only water sports and exercising are allowed. Volleyball, sunbathing, umbrellas, and beach chairs are prohibited. Beach-goers are advised to "keep moving."

One controversial aspect of the beach re-opening is the L.A. County mandate that face coverings need to be worn.

However, at Tuesday night's Manhattan Beach City Council meeting, city officials seemed to indicate that the face covering requirement would not be actively enforced, given the limited capacity of the police department. The emphasis would instead be on maintaining social distancing and preventing large groups from gathering.

"As far as enforcement - realistically we’re not going to enforcing face masks on the beach, right?," said council member Steve Napolitano.

"That’s correct," Manhattan Beach Police Chief Derrick Abell confirmed.

Council member Nancy Hersman noted that the city wanted to avoid an issue like one over the past week where a lacrosse team held a practice with a large number of parents gathered on the sidelines.

"That’s when the exponential problem blows up. That’s why the parties are the problem," said Hersman. "We need to focus attention on big groups of people. We need to focus on what is going to make the biggest difference for us. To keep the cases down, it’s going to be not letting people get together."

Montgomery urged beach-goers to be conscientious and cautious while observing stated rules and not creating a situation that would require city intervention. He said his hope for the next two days was that it would be so quiet that [Manhattan Beach Police] Chief Derrick Abell "will fall asleep in his chair."




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