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Plans Announced for Eventual Beach, Bay Re-Openings Across San Diego County

A city of San Diego lifeguard stands on Mission Beach, March 24, 2020.
Roland Lizarondo
A city of San Diego lifeguard stands on Mission Beach, March 24, 2020.
UC San Diego Health has started testing patients and health care workers for the presence of novel coronavirus antibodies, but the tests come with warnings. Also on the KPBS daily San Diego News Matters podcast: A regional plan to reopen local beaches and bays, lower income communities of color in southern parts of the county are being hit hardest by the coronavirus and more local news you need.

Plans were announced Wednesday for a phased re-opening of San Diego County beaches and bays once the region has met certain county public health goals regarding COVID-19.

The region-wide plan calls for a two-phase reopening across all coastal cities in the county, which would begin with beaches and bays open initially to walking and running only, according to San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

Physical distancing would be required, and face coverings strongly recommended.


Gatherings would be prohibited under Phase 1 of the plan, and piers, boardwalks and parking lots would remain closed.

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The ocean would be open to all recreational uses, while San Diego Bay and Mission Bay would be open to boating and single-person paddling only.

Under Phase 2, all activities that allow for physical distancing would be allowed at the beaches, bays, piers, boardwalks and parking lots.

Faulconer said the plan would not go into effect until the county lifts restrictions on water access, which would be based on the region meeting certain unspecified "milestones" determined by county public health officials.


Guidance from county officials would also determine the transition between Phase 1 and 2, according to Faulconer.

Regional leaders would also reserve the option to "peel back or dial that down to protect the public on any of these phases, if necessary," Faulconer said.

The plan was unanimously approved Tuesday by a coalition of regional lifeguard and coastal law enforcement agencies and received approval from the mayors of Carlsbad, Chula Vista, Coronado, Del Mar, Encinitas, Imperial Beach, National City, Oceanside, San Diego and Solana Beach.

The announcement came one day after San Diego reopened a number of neighborhood parks for limited use.