Trails, Beaches Close Parking Lots to Curb High Numbers of Visitors
By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
Palisadians have been ordered to stay at home since Thursday, March 19, when Mayor Eric Garcetti issued a Safer at Home order and California Governor Gavin Newsom issued an order to Stay at Home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The number of cases in Pacific Palisades was at nine, with 662 cases and 11 deaths across the county, according to County of Los Angeles Public Health as the Palisadian-Post went to print Tuesday.
“Because there are positive cases across the entire county,” the department shared in a news release, “the public should not think one location is safer than the other.”
COVID-19 testing is now available through the city of Los Angeles for certain high-risk individuals, including those 65 and older or with underlying chronic health conditions who are showing symptoms, as well as people who have been exposed to a confirmed case and are under a mandatory 14-day quarantine period with more than seven days left.
“We are all safer at home,” Garcetti shared in a statement about the Safer at Home order. “Staying in our residences, being aggressive about hygiene and practicing safe social distancing are the most effective ways to protect ourselves, the people we love and everyone in our community.”
Following the orders, all businesses ceased operations that require in-person attendance by workers, including indoor malls, indoor shopping centers and all stores except for those considered essential. Businesses remained in operation if they could be maintained by telecommuting or other remote means.
The citywide order also prohibited all public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside of a residence.
Activities that are not restricted by the order include visiting health or veterinary care professionals, obtaining medical supplies or medication, or getting grocery items. Residents are also able to provide care for minors, the elderly, dependents, persons with disabilities or other vulnerable persons.
Anyone who leaves the house for a sanctioned reason is expected to maintain reasonable social distancing practices, including staying six feet away from others, frequently washing or sanitizing hands, covering coughs or sneezes, not shaking hands, and regularly cleaning high-touch surfaces.
Also under the order, essential businesses, including banks, gas stations, grocery stores, healthcare operations, and restaurants providing takeout and delivery, remain open.
Palisadian grocery stores, including Erewhon, Gelson’s, Ralphs and Vons, are offering special hours for seniors and those who are immunocompromised to shop. For the most up-to-date store hours, the Palisadian-Post has compiled a list that is available at palipost.com.
As the orders went into place, playgrounds for children, except when located within childcare centers, were closed for all purposes. Palisadians were still able to engage in outdoor activities and recreation, as long as they complied with social distancing requirements, including walking, hiking, running and cycling.
Starting Sunday, March 22, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority announced that all parks, trails and building facilities under its care—including Temescal Gateway Park in Pacific Palisades—would be closed immediately until further notice.
Other places under the care of MRCA include Ballona Creek Trail and Bike Path and King Gillette Ranch.
“Tough decision but the right one,” Senator Henry Stern wrote on Twitter. “Visitors haven’t been doing the necessary social distancing on their own.”
Soon after, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area announced the closure of Solstice Canyon—a popular trail in Malibu—due to lack of appropriate social distancing.
By Monday, March 23, hiking trails in Los Angeles County were ordered to be closed “out of an abundance of caution and in accordance with guidance from state and local health officials to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
“This weekend we saw too many people packing beaches, trails and parks,” Mayor Garcetti shared. “So we are closing sports and recreation at [Los Angeles City Parks] and closing parking at city beaches. That doesn’t mean gather elsewhere. This is serious. Stay home and save lives.”
As the Post went to print, Will Rogers State Beach remained opened, though the parking lot was closed.
“This could change depending on circumstances,” a representative from the Department of Beaches & Harbors explained to the Post. “We are in constant communication with the Board of Supervisors and health officials. Should people choose to visit the beach, we advise they follow health officials’ guidance on social distancing and avoid large groups.”
Parking lots in California State Parks, including Will Rogers State Historic Park, have been closed to help curb high visitation. As of Tuesday, March 24, SMMNRA announced modifications to slow the spread of COVID-19, including closing all parking areas to vehicles and not issuing permits or conducting on-site programs.
Residents are encouraged to walk or run in their neighborhood for fresh air and exercise while staying six feet away from others.
The city of Malibu has released a Virtual Recreation Center, available at malibucity.org/virtualrec. The center offers a curated selection of programs and resources for health and well-being, including yoga and science programming.
Mayor Garcetti also signed an emergency order prohibiting residential evictions under the Ellis Act and imposed a moratorium on all Ellis Act-related evictions throughout the city to protect additional tenants from being displaced from their homes.
Circumstances include loss of income due to work place closure or reduced hours due to COVID-19; loss of income or child care expenditures due to school closures; health care expenditures stemming from COVID-19 infection of the tenant or a member of the tenant’s household; and reasonable expenditures stemming from government-ordered emergency measures.
“The mayor’s order emphasizes that tenants are still obligated to pay lawfully charged rent,” according to information provided by the city. “However, during the emergency period, tenants may not be evicted for failure to pay rent due to the financial impacts related to COVID-19. Tenants will have up to six months following the expiration of the local emergency to repay any back rent due.”
Due to changing conditions and closures, updates will be reflected as available.
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