Beaches Slated for Reopening

By: 
Kirt Ramirez
AN ATHLETE climbs over a fence to enter the beach from Bluff Park last week. The athlete, who declined to give his name, jogged up and down the staircase as part of his training.

With delightful weather in place at the beach and with summer fast approaching, many locals want to escape to the strand, but they aren’t allowed to yet.

But the beaches are scheduled to reopen soon, unless something changes.

“The beaches were closed effective March 28 and will remain closed until May 15, or until further notice,” city spokesman Edward Kamlan said through email.

May 15 is the date the city’s Safer at Home order is set to be lifted.

During a recent heatwave, many people flocked to the Orange County beaches that were not closed, such as Huntington Beach and Newport Beach. Governor Gavin Newsom later said during a press briefing that he did not like the images he was seeing of crowded beaches during a coronavirus pandemic. He closed all OC beachcs last Friday but days later agreed they could reopen, with restrictions.

In Long Beach, though people cannot legally go on the beach, that doen’t stop them from having a good time up on the bluff overlooking the sand and water.

Resident and musician Hassam Khan practiced playing his drum by himself on a Bluff Park bench. He belongs to a drum-circle group that used to meet on Tuesdays, but the gatherings were canceled for the interim.

“Normally we go down there and we play drums in a drum circle,” Khan said. “Yes, we do miss it. Because of this whole thing, we can’t get together.”

Khan said he is focusing more on his schoolwork with his extra time.

Along with drum-playing last Sunday, he took in the sights of an unusual red tide, which at night glowed in blue, turquoise colors as Long Beach’s small waves rolled ashore.

“It’s one of those rare phenomena,” he said.

Locals jogged and walked on the Bluff walkway as others relaxed on the green grass, taking in the crisp air and blue skies.

“This works just the same way,” said resident Andy Johnson, who, with his wife, sat in chairs watching the algae tide. “Some semblance of sanity here on the bluff ... It’s good to get out for a little bit of reality.”

Johnson said he misses visiting the beach.

He added that in general, people on the bluff adhered to social distancing guidelines and were respectful of others.

Despite the closure, a small number of individuals utilized the beach’s pedestrian and bicycle paths.

Meanwhile, Long Beach Police Department Public Information Officer, Ivan Garcia, said through email May 1:

“During these unprecedented times we are making every effort to obtain voluntary compliance when dealing with people in violation of the Safer at Home Health Order and we have had great success. As of today, we have not cited any person for being on our closed beaches.

“If our officers encountered a situation where the circumstances warranted a citation at one of our closed beaches, officers will issue a violation of Long Beach Municipal Code 16.16.010(K). This municipal code is categorized as a misdemeanor and the punishment is issued by the courts.

“The Long Beach Police Department does handle the city beaches, along with Marine Patrol and the city life guards.

 “Recently we have not had any protests, people not willing to leave, etc., on our beaches. We have only had the following notable incident,

“On April 25, 2020, at approximately 5:40 p.m., officers were dispatched to the beach parking lot on Junipero Avenue and 18th Place regarding people being parked in the parking lot. Approximately 20 to 25 vehicles were observed parked in the parking lot. Officers did a great job in educating the beach-goers and were able to gain voluntary compliance and everyone left the parking lot.”

kirt@beachcomber.news

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