SAN DIEGO — Tuesday was the first full day that law enforcement has been out making sure people comply with San Diego's local ordinance which calls for emergency closures of all city-owned beaches, parks, and trails.
The lifeguard tower P.A. system at Mission Beach made sure the message was loud and clear.
“Beaches, boardwalks and parks are closed. This includes the water. Please comply with the public health order and stay at home and practice social distancing,” the lifeguard said.
San Diego Police officers we out patrolling beach boardwalks and trails. Officers can enforce the governor's stay-at-home order and a local ordinance pertaining to emergency closures. Both could result in a misdemeanor citation and leave violators facing up to $1,000 in fines and up to six months confinement.
Few - if any - people could be seen at Lake Murray and Cowles Mountain on Tuesday, which had a sign posted that said "Park closed. All public access is prohibited.”
Overhead, helicopter aerials showed an apocalyptic scene of deserted San Diego beaches on a beautiful and sunny day with no one in the water.
This new order has been a tough one for some to comprehend and follow. Lifeguards had to tell many beachgoers they had to leave. Even with signs posted saying, "CLOSED in line with County Health guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19," the closures weren't sinking in.
"Surfers actually sort of sometimes feel like there's a different set of rules for them,” said Monica Munoz, a spokesperson for the City of San Diego Fire and Rescue and Lifeguards.
Munoz said these strict rules come after officials saw record crowds at parks and beaches recently with very little people social distancing.
"These are unprecedented times. We are sorry that this whole situation has to exist, and it's no one individual's fault, but we can do this together,” Munoz said.
It's not the same across the entire San Diego County, as all county public spaces have not closed.
“It is a decision to be made by each jurisdiction based on their level of confidence and ability to ensure social distancing at their parks or their beaches,” said San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.
For example, at South Carlsbad State Beach, small groups stayed away from each other as a sign said: “Maintain physical distance 6 feet.”