4/3/20: Every Beach in Encinitas is Now Closed

April 3, 2020

A controversial topic as we wrap up week three of our new coronavirus reality has been the inconsistency between open state beaches and closed city beaches. As of sunset tonight that changes – every beach, campground and the ocean are now off-limits.

California State Parks reports that “visitation surges” are making it difficult for people to maintain the required 6-feet physical distancing. They remind people this is not the time for a road trip to a destination park or beach; this is a time to stay at home. This means that there is no walking, swimming or surfing at the state parks in Cardiff, at the campgrounds, in Carlsbad or at Torrey Pines. More information from State Parks is here, and the San Diego Union-Tribune story is here

Different challenges, different strategies

In the last three weeks, we’ve been responding vigorously with an entirely new approach to the city’s core priorities, while we’re working to protect residents and workers like never before.

For example, our public works department (the 55 city staffers who keep water, streets, traffic lights, and wastewater pipes working) has now divided into two entirely separate work groups, operating out of different locations on a staggered schedule. That way, if someone on one part of our critical team gets sick, the rest of the staff isn’t taken down too. This preventative measure helps us keep the lights on. 

Last week the City Council held a special City Council meeting (all done remotely) to discuss the coronavirus. We unanimously approved a moratorium on evictions for both residential and commercial tenants. If rent isn’t paid because of the effects of the coronavirus, the tenant can’t be evicted while the emergency declaration is in effect. The tenant is still responsible for paying rent, but will have a longer time to do so. Here’s the city’s news release for more information.

I’ve learned after many conversations with landlords and tenants that every circumstance is different, and everyone understands that the pain will be shared. Tenants and landlords should be in touch with each other about their circumstances to individually negotiate a deal that feels fair to both parties given the circumstances. That’s why the city has effectively created a “pause” for working out the details in this complex new reality.   

A new word for a new reality 

On a Zoom conference call with 600 of the nation’s mayors this week, one of the featured speakers proposed that the word “resilience” should be considered an active verb instead of a passive state. So, what are we “resilience-ing” toward here in Encinitas? The answer is, keeping the city’s residents safe and healthy, our critical services and operations open, and the city’s budget stabilized. 

We’re “resilience-ing” toward helping more people, especially vulnerable populations like seniors who need food, residents with food and housing instability, and small businesses in dire need of help.

If you’re anything like me, you’re inundated by sometimes conflicting resources and information (face masks, yes or no?) on the coronavirus pandemic. Here are some hand-picked highlights, all accurate as of this writing:

  • There are 1,112 positive cases in the county now, with 23 in the 92024 zip code, and four in 92007. The county is providing data by zipcode for the first time at this link
  • If you leave the house, cover your mouth and nose with something; a handkerchief or turtleneck pulled up will work. Employees who interact with the public – grocery story workers, gas station attendants – are now required to cover their faces. A facial covering doesn’t have to be 100% effective to help prevent spread. People without COVID-19 symptoms can carry and then pass the virus, and this puts a barrier between people as they communicate with each other. Here’s more information from the county.  
  • If you have extra Personal Protective Equipment (PPE – hand sanitizer/disinfectant wipes, N95 or surgical masks, gloves, gowns, coveralls, face shields, protective goggles) that you can contribute, please consider doing so by going to GetUSPPE.org. Their website shows a real-time map of all the medical institutions in need of donations and supplies; it also allows hospitals to register, if they are in need.  Information about a similar local initiative with San Diego County as a partner can be found here.

    If you have any questions about this, please email Jordan Liss and Kaylan Agnew at [email protected] or [email protected].
  • Flattening the curve is working. Keep it up! The flu and COVID-19 are spread similarly, so seeing this stark decrease in the number of flu cases, as shown above, indicates that people aren’t transmitting it to each other. That tells us we’re all on the right track by staying home. Here’s the story from the San Diego Union-Tribune.
  • Many people are missing the appreciation of the arts that has given their life such richness. The video above of a performance of Brahms Piano Quartet No 3 in C minor, mvt 3 features our friend, cellist Francisco Vila of the Macondo Chamber Players, who is staying with our family. He was first introduced to us through the iPalpiti classical music program that the city hosts every year.

    If you’re interested in reasonable music lessons during this crazy time, please email him at [email protected].
  • Last week, Congress passed and the President signed a $2.2 trillion dollar stimulus bill. As part of the package, $349 billion was designated for forgivable small business loans to help employers preserve their payroll and business operations. These loans are to be administered through traditional SBA-approved lenders. If your banker is overwhelmed, email Erik Bruvold at San Diego North Economic Development Council at [email protected], and he’ll connect you with lenders offering concierge-level service to North County small businesses.

    Here’s to staying home!

A Cardiff resident sent me this photo of himself and Tako the cat, all hunkered down in their cozy shared house.

Once again, I want to thank every individual person for their commitment. It’s important to remember that we are not “trapped at home, but safe at home.” 

John Najjar, the co-owner of Cardiff Seaside Market, has told me multiple times that it would be great if those of us who are healthy and able-bodied would volunteer to shop for those who are older and at higher risk.

I understand the sometimes mixed messages – stay home, but support local restaurants by ordering take-out, and get daily exercise and fresh air. But the fewer people who go out, the better. Please think about anyone in your circles who might need assistance. 

The key here is that our collective decision-making – staying away from people, washing our hands, protecting our own mouths and noses – will dictate the severity of how devastating this crisis will be for all of us. We don’t want our teenagers and young adults, many of whom already feel invincible, to be inadvertent carriers who infect those who are older or more infirm.

We’re all in this together. If one side of your boat is leaking, the other side doesn’t stay dry for long. 

Feeling hopeful based on the kindnesses I see all around us,

P.S. Crises often inspire innovation. Here’s my friend Scott Chatfield imaginatively social distancing as he uses a grabber tool to pay his landscaper.

Coronavirus Resources

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