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Los Angeles County beaches may reopen Wednesday. Here are the new rules

Los Angeles County beaches, which have been closed for more than six weeks, should reopen Wednesday with some restrictions on activities and other rules in place, officials said Monday.

Manhattan, Redondo and other county beaches will reopen on May 13 for active recreation only, the Department of Beaches and Harbors said on Twitter. Permitted activities will include running, walking, swimming and surfing. Group sports like volleyball are prohibited.

More languid activities, including picnicking and sunbathing, and their accessories — canopies, coolers and the like — will continue to be prohibited.

Face coverings will be mandatory for anyone on the sand, but not for people in the water. People will be required to practice social distancing by staying at least six feet away from other groups, the department said.

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Beach parking lots, bike paths, piers and boardwalks will stay closed.

The county’s beaches have been closed since late March. The planned reopening comes days after California began allowing some portions of the economy to reopen, including allowing curbside pickup at bookstores, clothiers, flower shops and other retailers.

A county spokesman said an official reopening date and time will require a public health order from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

The first stage of reopening the beaches should happen “later this week, if all goes well,” Barbara Ferrer, the department’s director, said on Monday. “But it will be with a lot of restrictions in place so that there won’t be overcrowding.”

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County health officials will be evaluating how well the reopening goes, she said, including whether people are able to keep moving and not gather in one place.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Monday that he supports reopening the city’s beaches for active recreation, with some restrictions. Sitting or tanning in the “dry areas of sand” would not be a good idea right now, Garcetti said.

“But the wet sand area — if you need to get in there to swim, to surf… that is something I hope we can earn again.”

Manhattan Beach Mayor Richard Montgomery said Monday in a statement that if beachgoers don’t follow the new rules, the beaches could be closed again by state and local officials. Violators could also face fines and criminal prosecution, the city said.

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The restrictions closely match new policies at Orange County beaches. Some shorelines, including Seal Beach and Dana Point, received permission to reopen after Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered a temporary “hard closure” on April 30, citing concerns with crowds.

If Newsom or Los Angeles County health officials see evidence of beachgoers not practicing social distancing, “they can and will close us down, as they did in Orange County,” said Redondo Beach Mayor Bill Brand on his Facebook page.

He added: “So please, hit the beach, do your thing, and leave. No hanging out for this first phase.”

Hermosa Beach owns its shoreline, but will follow the county’s orders and reopen, the city said Monday. The Strand and the pier will remain closed, but the city’s parking lots will reopen — with time limits — to allow people to access the sand.


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