Coronavirus: LA Closes Popular Runyon Canyon In Hollywood Hills

HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA) – Add the popular Runyon Canyon Park in the Hollywood Hills to the list of trails being closed in Los Angeles County due to large crowds amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A city worker closes the gates to Runyon Canyon Park in the Hollywood Hills. March 25, 2020. (CBS2)

City workers locked the gates to Runyon Canyon Wednesday morning.

The closure came after L.A. City Councilman David Ryu sent a letter Tuesday night to the L.A. Department of Recreation and Parks calling for the closure of Runyon Canyon Park in the Hollywood Hills this coming weekend. He also called for the closure of Lake Hollywood Park, a popular spot for those looking to get a glimpse of the Hollywood Sign. It was still open as of 11 a.m. Wednesday.

The Runyon Canyon closure is indefinite.

“In order to maintain public health, and in line with the social distancing recommendations from top health officials, I believe we must close Runyon Canyon Park and Lake Hollywood Park on weekends,” Ryu wrote in a letter to the L.A. Department of Recreation and Parks. “Making this request pains me greatly. I grew up in a two-bedroom apartment off the 101 Freeway, and our City’s parks were my only access to outdoor space. As you know, I have been a long-standing champion for parks and open space, and have prioritized park access as chair of the City Council Committee on Parks. However, after discussing the matter with public health experts, I believe this is a necessary step.”

The decision to close Runyon Canyon comes after several parks and trails in L.A. County have already closed due to getting massive crowds amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Being cooped up in the house, it’s not good,” hiker Maggi Rossi told CBS2 Wednesday. “I wish they wouldn’t, but I understand why they are.”

“If people aren’t going to be responsible, then we’re gonna have to kiss our beautiful walks goodbye, it’s that simple,” hiker Andy Corrigan said.

The famous Malibu Pier and all its shops and restaurants were also closed indefinitely Wednesday.

Ryu’s request came after L.A. closed all its city-owned golf courses Sunday, while the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority – a government agency which manages 75,000 acres of parkland in the Santa Monica and Santa Susana Mountains, along with the Simi Hills – closed all its parks and trails.

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti also ordered all parking lots for city-owned beaches – which include Cabrillo and Venice beaches – to close. The Venice Beach Boardwalk is closed as well. The beaches themselves remain open.

Santa Monica was also forced Sunday to close all its beach parking lots in an attempt to keep people off the beaches, bike paths and out of Palisades Park. The Santa Monica Pier has been closed since early last week.

All parking lots at state beaches and parks – including nine in L.A. County – have been closed.

L.A. County issued a revised “safer at home” order Sunday which prohibits all public and private gatherings. It also calls for all nail and hair salons, indoor malls, shopping centers and drive-in theaters to close. Restaurants are still allowed to open for pickup and delivery orders only. The initial order closed all gyms, clubs and movie theaters.

Area leaders said people can still go out to walk, bike and exercise around their homes.

Last week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order for the the entire state. Under the order, people can only leave their homes for essential needs. The orders ban all gatherings of 10 people or more outside of a single home and calls for non-essential businesses that require employees to report for work to shut down.