By Shawn Raymundo
The city announced Friday, April 24, that San Clemente’s beaches will officially reopen to the public this weekend for limited active use, meaning swimming, surfing, running and walking, but no lounging or loitering.
San Clemente residents will be allowed to use the beaches, as well as much of the Beach Trail beginning at 6 a.m. on Saturday. However, the parking lots to the beaches and the San Clemente Pier will remain closed to prevent an influx of beachgoers.
“To reduce overcrowding, the City is requesting that non-residents abide by the Governor’s stay at home orders, due to limited parking availability in San Clemente,” the press release said.
The city closed the beaches, as well as the beach and coastal trails on April 8, as part of ongoing efforts to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus in San Clemente.
As of April 24, there have been a total of 43 cases of the virus found in San Clemente, according to the Orange County Health Care Agency. Data compiled from the county’s health office shows that San Clemente hasn’t had a new case of COVID-19 since April 9.
The city council on Tuesday, April 24, voted to have the beaches reopened with the caveat that several restrictions would be put in place to continue encouraging social distancing.
According to the city, permitted activities at the beaches include such exercises as walking, running, jogging, swimming, surfing, bodyboarding and kayaking, to name a few.
Loitering and gatherings of 10 people or more will not be allowed at the beaches, nor will picnics. That also includes settling in place, so no setting up chairs, beach towels and blankets to lounge. The volleyball courts, picnic pavilions and the fire rings for barbecues and bonfires will also stay closed.
“Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Marine Safety, Code Enforcement, and Park Rangers will continue to patrol and monitor the beach and trail,” the city said. “Those found in violation of this direction may be cited.”
The full list of permitted and prohibited activities, beach access points and parking restrictions can be found here.
Shawn Raymundo is the city editor for the San Clemente Times. He graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies. Before joining Picket Fence Media, he worked as the government accountability reporter for the Pacific Daily News in the U.S. territory of Guam. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnzyTsunami and follow San Clemente Times @SCTimesNews.