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Encinitas closes pedestrian portion of Highway 101

The closure comes at a time when beachgoers bemoan stricter coronavirus measures.

ENCINITAS, Calif. — The beaches and boardwalks have been closed in San Diego for weeks, and joggers, walkers, and cyclists in Encinitas are having to get used to hitting the pavement along Highway 101, and the city's Coastal Rail Trail. 

On Thursday, however, the City of Encinitas shut down both main pathways, including the pedestrian portion of south Highway 101 - from Swami's Beach to the Seaside parking lot. 

“Isn't walking an essential need to exercise?,” one man said.

Rows of barricades surrounded the parking lot and lined the streets. People even complained about deputies writing tickets to anyone watching the sunset from inside their parked cars.

“If you keep cutting off the places where we walk and exercise, we're going to keep getting tighter together,” one man said.

The city mayor did not give a reason for the additional measures.

“I understand. It’s a very dangerous virus,” one man said after vowing not to return to his exercise spot.

While many are adhering to the stay at home message, it appears beachgoers everywhere are finding alternate routes to take in the ocean breeze in the pandemic.

“We have people coming down from all over the place,” said Harley Rose.

Rose said after weeks of gloomy and rainy weather, the sunshine is too tempting for people to resist parking in her La Jolla neighborhood for a scenic stroll.

“Bikers, runners, kids everyone playing in the streets now. It's just as dangerous,” she said.

As authorities and lifeguards comb the beaches, and now the streets, Richie Corbello and Thomas Pfifer set up beach chairs on a sidewalk across from Windansea beach.

“We’re just here to enjoy without breaking any rules,” said Corbello.

“Speaking of breaking rules, maybe you should move your chair about three feet. You’re sitting right next to me,” Pfifer realized.

Those are the types of accidents officials want to prevent.

Will stricter closures last into the summer?

The City of Encinitas mayor said it is yet to be determined. 

“If there’s groups of 20 or more break them up, but don't kick everybody off,” said another man standing near the new barricades.

Anyone caught visiting area beaches could be slapped with a misdemeanor subject to a $1,000 fine.

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Click here to watch "Facts Not Fear," a News 8 Special on coronavirus from March 26, 2020.


According to the CDC, coronavirus (COVID-19) is a family of viruses that is spreadable from person to person. Coronavirus is believed to have been first detected in a seafood market in Wuhan, China in December 2019. If someone is sick with coronavirus, the symptoms they may show include mild to severe respiratory illness, cough, and difficulty breathing.

Currently, there is no vaccine, however, the CDC suggests the following precautions, as with any other respiratory illness:

Know how it spreads: 

There is no vaccine

The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to the virus

It is thought to spread mainly from person-person between people in close contact

And believed to be spread by respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes

Protect yourself

Wash your hands with soap and water for a minimum of 20 seconds

If soap and water aren't available, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol

Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

Avoid close contact with people who are sick

Put distance between yourselves and others

Protect others

Stay home when you are sick

Wear a facemask if you are sick

Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash

If you don't have tissue, cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow

Immediately wash your hands after coughing and sneezing

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe

You can find information on disinfecting and cleaning on the CDC's How to Protect Yourself page.

The California Department of Public Health has issued guidance on the use of cloth face coverings to protect against the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19.

The County of San Diego has made face coverings mandatory for those working with the public including grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, convenience stores, and similar businesses.

While officials say these face coverings are not a substitute for practices like social distancing and handwashing, there is evidence to suggest that the use of cloth face coverings by the public during a pandemic could help reduce disease transmission. Officials do not recommend the public use N-95 or surgical masks which are needed by health care workers and first responders.

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