San Diego to allow sunbathing, other passive beach activities

Visitors at Ocean Beach were violating orders by lounging on the sand on Memorial Day. But beginning Tuesday, San Diego County will allow passive use of all beaches.
(Nelvin C. Cepeda / San Diego Union-Tribune)

Passive recreation can resume at San Diego County beaches on Tuesday, officials announced.

Previously, many beaches and parks had been open only for active physical use, such as jogging, swimming, surfing or walking — with no lounging allowed.

The new regulations allow people in the same household to sit and sunbathe on the sand. Activities like football and volleyball are still banned, and parking lots and piers remain closed.

San Diego County shut down a Pacific Beach restaurant and bar Friday after video emerged of crowds flouting the county’s public heath orders, which require patrons to practice social distancing.


The decision follows a similar measure in Ventura County, which allowed sunbathing to resume at all county beaches beginning Friday.

San Diego County officials reported 117 new COVID-19 cases and five new deaths on Thursday. The new cases represent about 3% of the 3,699 tests most recently conducted.

The county is aiming to be able to test 5,200 residents a day.

San Diego County first reopened its beaches in late April, but like most areas in the state, access was restricted to active-use only, such as swimming or running.

Even after Gov. Gavin Newsom moved to shut down other Southern California beaches after crowds flocked the area, Sand Diego County was permitted to keep its shorelines open.

Individual jurisdictions will decide for themselves whether to implement the loosened regulations.