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Carlsbad to close parking lots at beaches

 

Last updated 4/2/2020 at 8:34pm



SAN DIEGO (CNS) - After efforts to keep people from gathering at the

beach proved insufficient, the city of Carlsbad announced today it will

prohibit parking along nearly six miles of state-owned coastline starting

Friday.

Carlsbad closed the northernmost beach controlled by the city on March

23 and has made formal requests that the state follow suit with beaches

under its jurisdiction. To date, the state has closed beach parking lots, but

not the beach. Most other beaches in the county are closed, resulting in a huge

influx of people from miles around to the beaches in Carlsbad.

``We are in the middle of a serious public health emergency, and the

city of Carlsbad is going to do everything we can to prevent the spread of

COVID-19,'' said Carlsbad City Manager Scott Chadwick.

Over the past two weeks, the city's police department has put up

signs, handed out hundreds of informational fliers, and had officers at the

beach encouraging compliance with the health orders. In spite of these efforts,

the city continues to observe and document instances of people gathering and

not maintaining six feet of distance from each other.

County public health officials said Wednesday that the county is still

in the early days of the outbreak, and April will be a critical month for

following all health directives. Otherwise, officials warn that COVID-19 cases

requiring hospitalization and ventilators will outpace local healthcare

capacity, leading to significantly more deaths from the new virus.

The no-parking rule will start Friday at 5 a.m. The area affected

includes the east and west sides of Carlsbad Boulevard from Pine to La Costa

avenues, Ponto Drive and Ponto Road. City crews will put up signs and

barricades in the affected areas.

Carlsbad declared a local emergency March 16. Among other things, this

action gives the city manager -- acting as the director of emergency

services -- the authority to take immediate steps to protect health and safety.

The Carlsbad City Council will be asked to approve the parking ban by adopting

an urgency ordinance at its next meeting, April 7.

On March 19, Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an executive order directing

Californians to stay at home except for essential needs, to reduce the spread

of COVID-19. On March 27, the County of San Diego Public Health Officer issued

a health order directing cities to close beaches when physical distancing and

gathering rules cannot be effectively enforced.

The Carlsbad Police Department will enforce the new rule with

citations that carry fines starting at $50.

 

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