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San Clemente first to allow “passive use” at beaches, anglers can return to pier

You can now, officially, bring a towel and umbrella to lounge on the sand for a day at the beach in San Clemente.

The seaside city became the first in Southern California to announce it will allow “passive use,” after a whirlwind few months that saw complete beach closures and then strict rules that only allowed use if people kept moving, and parking restrictions at public lots and residential streets that prompted protests.

San Clemente made the announcement following Gov. Newsom and the California Department of Public Health authorizing the state’s transition into Stage 3 reopening.

Previous rules required people be walking, jogging, surfing, swimming or partaking in some sort of physical activity, a rule put in place following beach closures Newsom put in place across all of Orange County after concerns over weekend crowds.

To reopen local agencies had to get state approval for new rules for how their beaches would be used in order to curb crowds during the coronavirus pandemic.

Though active-use only rules have been in place for weeks, plenty of beachgoers showed up with beach towels and umbrellas, with authorities opting for an educational approach verses strict enforcement with ticketing or removal from the sand.

The easing of restrictions also changes what’s allowed on San Clemente’s popular pier, where previously cones and signs were set up to keep people moving in one direction. Now, anglers can cast out lines for fishing and people can hang out to watch surfers or stop to take in a sunset.

Beachgoers use the pier for active use, and one-way traffic, in San Clemente, CA on Thursday, May 7, 2020. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

City beaches will be open seven days a week from 4 a.m. to midnight, according to the city announcement. Play structures and the fire rings located on the beachfront, however, will remain closed.

Still, beachgoers are required to adhere to physical distancing guidelines and should wear face coverings, the city advised. Frequent hand washing is strongly recommended and individuals who are not feeling well are asked to stay home.

Source: Orange County Register

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