‘You stayed classy, San Diego,’ mayor says of residents at beaches

A cyclist rides along Coast Highway in Encinitas in early April.
(K.C. Alfred / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Most San Diego residents who took advantage of the newly reopened beaches on Monday were careful to follow the rules, prompting a “thank you” from Mayor Kevin Faulconer.

“I’m happy to report you stayed classy, San Diego,” Faulconer said at his afternoon briefing.

The mayor said lifeguards and police officers were out in force, prepared to educate residents about what is and isn’t allowed — but it was largely unnecessary.


Lifeguard Chief James Gartland said that while the water was crowded during the early morning, it thinned out as the day progressed. Although most people followed the rules, he added that there were some “trouble spots” on boardwalks and at pocket beaches.

Lifeguards made seven water rescues.

“The stay-at-home order is still in place,” Gartland said. “The [beach] access is for you to come down, walk, run, surf, swim — get your exercise — and then head back home.”

The weekend will be the real test, Faulconer said.

“We do not want to give back the gains we have sacrificed so much for,” he said. “We do not want to see beaches crowded. That’s what led to their closure in the first place.”

Faulconer announced the region’s plan to reopen beaches last week. The blueprint was devised by county lifeguards, and all coastal cities agreed to it. Faulconer stressed that coastal cities would implement the plan simultaneously after the county lifted ocean restrictions.

But when county officials lifted those restrictions, some cities in the county chose to keep their beaches closed.

Faulconer said many cities were ready to invite their residents back to the beach on Monday, and he stressed how important it was to have a single set of regulations to guide those reopenings.


“I think it served us well,” he said of the plan.

Winkley writes for the San Diego Union-Tribune.