With potentially record-setting heat on tap for the weekend, local officials have put out a plea for residents to avoid flocking to closed beaches and trailheads to take advantage of the taste of summer in defiance of COVID-19 social-distancing mandates.
“It’s getting warmer in Los Angeles, and when it gets warmer in Los Angeles — we are a coastal city, we tend to head to the beach, we tend to head to the trails,” Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said. “We like to be outdoors. And yet, as we know, in the nonessential activies, we’ve needed to close trailheads. We’ve needed to close the beaches.
“There’s areas of Los Angeles we’re asking people not to congregate,” he said. “We’re asking people to exercise social distancing so that we can cut down this threat of the COVID-19. To date, our efforts have been to advise, counsel and direct. And I have to say the vast amount to Angelenos have been compliant, and they have avoided those congregations. And when they’ve been approached by officers, they’ve honored their direction and guidance.
“As we come upon this weekend, and we see the increased temperature and we see other parts of this region opening their spaces, I know that there’ll be opportunities for people to think, `Why not here?’ and `Let’s just go out there.’ I’m going to ask everyone to exercise that social contract of our own responsibility and hold ourselves accountable and avoid those nonessential activities.”
He said residents can still go outside, but they need to avoid major common areas and crowds.
“Save the police the awkwardness of us having to admonish you and advise and direct you for something that you already know,” Moore said. “With that, our men and women can stay focused on public safety.”
The county’s public health director, Barbara Ferrer, echoed those comments, saying the nice weather and growing calls for a lifting of public health orders shouldn’t lull people into complacency and take part in large gatherings.
“It’s very important even with the good weather that people do not congregate together outside,” she said. “So enjoy the outdoors alone or with other members of your household. And this means please take a walk, go for a jog or sit outside in your yard and allow your children to be outside and enjoy this beautiful weather. But you need to do it as a household and not to congregate in places and spaces that are beautiful but will defeat our need for us to keep our distance still.”