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San Mateo County to reopen trails in 13 parks following coronavirus closures

Peple walk along a trail at the beach in Ventura.
Peple walk along a trail at the beach in Ventura. San Mateo County will reopen some parks beginning Monday.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

San Mateo has joined the growing cohort of California counties moving to reopen outdoor areas shuttered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Trails will reopen in 13 parks Monday, according to the San Mateo County Parks Department.

Certain restrictions, however, will still be in effect. Visitors will have to carry face coverings, maintain a buffer of six feet, avoid mingling with people they don’t live with, and hike single file on narrow paths.

Parks director Nicholas Calderon said the county — which closed 23 of its parks on March 27 in a bid to slow the spread of COVID-19 — is “eager to welcome visitors back” so they can “experience the physical and mental health benefits of being outdoors and on the trails.”

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“During this time, it’s critical that park users follow the new rules developed to prevent overcrowding, discourage gatherings and that support social distancing,” he said in a statement Tuesday. “Let’s work together to ensure that parks are safe environments for everyone.”

Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara counties as well as the city of Berkeley will retain shelter-in-place orders.

The announcement applies to the following trails and parks:

  • Edgewood Park
  • Huddart Park
  • Junipero Serra Park
  • Memorial Park
  • Mirada Surf West
  • Pescadero Creek Park
  • Pillar Point Bluff
  • Quarry Park
  • Ralston Bike Trail
  • Sam McDonald Park
  • San Bruno Mountain Park
  • San Pedro Valley Park
  • Wunderlich Park

The Crystal Springs Regional Trail also will reopen to foot traffic, and the Bay Trail will be accessible through the Coyote Point Recreation Area, though the surrounding park will remain off-limits.

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All those areas will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.

The latest maps and charts on the spread of COVID-19 in California.

Visitors, however, shouldn’t expect business as usual. Common areas such as campgrounds, playgrounds and picnic areas will remain closed — as will some parking lots and restrooms. More detailed information on what is open at each particular park is available at the Parks Department website.

San Mateo County is the latest in California to roll back some restrictions on outdoor areas that were imposed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of Tuesday, the county had confirmed 1,136 coronavirus infections and 48 deaths.

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San Bernardino County reopened its parks, lakes, rivers and recreation areas Saturday after more than a monthlong closure.

Ventura County also reopened its parks earlier this month. Beaches there are partially opened, too.

San Diego County officials announced last week they would lift restrictions on ocean access — allowing some cities to remove the proverbial padlock from their beaches.

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The question of whether to reopen — or, in some cases, further cordon off — California’s famous sandy stretches has recently been a topic as hot as the weather, which spurred thousands to head to the coast in search of relief last weekend.

Busy beaches in Orange and Ventura counties drew a rebuke from Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday, who cited them as an example of “what not to do” as the state considered when and how to ease its stay-at-home order.

Southern California had its first big heat wave over the weekend, but L.A. County beaches are closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. Beaches in nearby counties were open, however. Here are a few scenes from the weekend.

Some coastal officials pushed back, though, saying beachgoers largely followed social-distancing guidelines and that photos and dispatches over the weekend mischaracterized what conditions on the ground were really like.

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“Despite what’s being reported, the majority of our beachgoers are complying to social distancing,” Huntington Beach officials wrote in a statement Sunday. “Please enjoy the rest of your weekend, stay safe and continue to social distance as everyone has been doing.”

Conditions are a little different in San Mateo County, where coronavirus restrictions state residents are not allowed to travel more than five miles from their homes for outdoor recreation.

Earlier this month, police in the city of Pacifica ordered 275 people off Linda Mar Beach after learning they had strayed outside the permitted buffer zone.

From Friday through Sunday, officers booted 535 more people off the beach for the same reason, according to the Pacifica Police Department.


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