Carlsbad to prohibit parking along the beach due to health emergency
After efforts to encourage compliance have not been enough to keep people from gathering at the beach, the City of Carlsbad announced today it will prohibit parking along nearly 6 miles of state-owned coastline starting Friday.
The City of Carlsbad closed the northernmost beach that is controlled by the city on March 23 and has made formal requests that the state follow suit. To date, the state has closed beach parking lots, but not the beach. Since most other beaches in the county are closed, people are coming 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 6 feet of distance from each other.
County public health officials said at a news conference 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 health care capacity, leading to significantly more deaths from the new virus.
The no parking rule will start April 3 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.
The City of Carlsbad declared a local emergency March 16. This action, among other things, gives the City Manager, acting as the director of emergency services, the authority to take immediate steps to protect health and safety. The City Council will be asked to approve the parking ban by adopting an urgency ordinance at its next meeting, April 7.
On March 19, Governor 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 put out a health order directing cities to close beaches when physical distancing and gathering rules cannot be effectively enforced.
The City of Carlsbad Police Department will enforce the new rule with citations that carry fines starting at $50.