MONTEREY, Calif. (KION) The City of Monterey said it will issue a new partial beach closure order from the city manager Wednesday. This order basically means that only using the beach for exercising will be allowed.
The city made it clear that they want people to comply, but not doing so could result in a citation.
“This is a great balance, we think, that allows the public to still access the beach without closing it completely,” Monterey Assistant City Manager Nat Rojanasathira said.
The city said in a teleconference Wednesday that the order will take effect on Friday.
Some activities will still be allowed, such as walking, jogging and ocean recreational uses like surfing, kayaking and swimming, but passive uses of the beach will not be allowed, such as picnicking, barbecues, lounging, sunbathing or group sports. In other words, exercise, but don't socialize.
The city said more people have been flocking to beaches over the past couple weeks as temperatures warm up.
“We’ve noticed that for the most part people are maintaining social distancing, but the crowds are getting larger and larger and for us to be able to maintain that social distancing, we felt that this order was necessary,” Rojanasathira said.
As for enforcement, the Monterey Police Department will start with educating the public.
“It’s all about education and hopefully getting voluntary compliance, and then if we don’t have compliance, we do have to actually issue citations,” Chief Dave Hober said.
The city said that it will enforce a $1,000 fine for those who violate the order. Staff from the Monterey Police Department and California State Parks will be advising people about the rule along with lifeguards over the weekend. They will be letting beach-goers know about the closures and ask violators to move on. If people do not comply, they will issue citations.
People are not supposed to travel during the shelter in place so the city is asking that people do their exercise in their own neighborhoods.
The order applies to parks as well. Park visitors can take part in active uses, but cannot have a picnic or take part in other passive uses.
Parking lots will still be open, but parking lot times and fees on lots will be enforced. They will be open for commercial fishing and those with permit cards for the parking lot, but mainly for permit users working in essential businesses, like the fishing industry.
The city said it will also restrict parking on Tide Avenue and partially restrict parking on Beach Way. Parking violators will be cited, and a parking violation in a now parking area is $125.
City officials said in the teleconference that the order is an effort to align its beach use rules with neighboring communities to make sure everyone complies with the Shelter in Place order. It will be similar to partial beach closures along the coast.