[guest post by JVW]
Los Angeles County beaches re-opened this past Wednesday, under strict regulations designed to limit the chances of large crowds congregating together. These rules dictated that beachgoers could only walk along the sand or the adjacent paved roads, and they could go in the water to swim or surf. Face coverings were to be worn when not in the water, and social distancing was to be maintained at all times. According to the regulations, bicycles were not to be allowed on the paved roads (probably to provide more walking space to pedestrians), nor were patrons to be permitted to relax on the sand in beach chairs or on towels. No organized sports such as volleyball were to be permitted either.
I have been taking walks along the beaches on a daily basis since they reopened, and this afternoon I went in for a quick swim. I can report to you that the regulations are being largely ignored: fewer than half the people on the beach are wearing masks, plenty of people have been sitting around in chairs and on towels, groups of teenagers (mask-less, naturally) were congregating together, people were playing sand soccer and tossing around a football, and a few bicyclists had decided to ride on the beach road. I doubt that the county intends for the lifeguards to enforce the rules, and as far as I could tell there was absolutely nobody from the local police or sheriff departments there to hassle people for noncompliance.
So now the big question remains as to whether the coven of Karens which has been dictating rules and regulations will be forgiving of the misdemeanors or if they will take great umbrage at the undermining of their authority and seek to reimpose the closures. It was always manifestly daft to think that beachgoers wouldn’t sit down and rest on the sand while their kids surfed and swam, or that teenage schoolmates who in some cases haven’t seen each other in two months wouldn’t decide to hang out together, mandates be dammed. If the county were to try to reimpose the beach closure I think they would have a great deal of civil unrest on their hands, especially with the summer months coming. Local media, while acknowledging the lax following of rules, are reporting generally positive weekend results. Here’s hoping that County Health Director Barbara Ferrer along with Mayor Eric Garcetti and his minions on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors agree.