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A protester's surfboard with the words spray-painted, "Open the Beaches" on Saturday, April 25, near the entrance of Swami's State Beach in Encinitas. Photo by Caitlin Steinberg
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Deputies arrest three protesters at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article has been updated to include information regarding the arrest of three individuals at Moonlight Beach. 

ENCINITAS — Three people were arrested and cited today during a rally at Moonlight Beach, organized to protest beach closures and stay-at-home orders in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The three were cited for violating the stay-at-home order and congregating on a closed beach, according to Lt. Amber Baggs of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

“Several protesters walked onto the beach and sat as deputies began speaking to them regarding the county public health order,” Baggs said. “The people were given multiple opportunities to comply with the state and county orders. Three attendees refused and were arrested.”

Protesters marched toward Swami’s Beach Park, and once there, began to disperse and left the area without incident at about noon, Baggs said.

“The Surf’s Up Shred the Tidal Wave of Tyranny” protest, scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon, was organized by Crista Anne Curtis, who led a similar protest last week.

Another protest was planned for Sunday at the Pacific Beach lifeguard station at 700 Grand Ave. starting at 1 p.m.

Dubbed “A Day of Liberty San Diego Freedom Rally,” that protest is being organized by Naomi Soria, according to social media posts announcing the rally. Soria organized last week’s downtown San Diego rally.

One of the protesters, Bryan Wampler, posted to the Facebook group “Free Encinitas” shortly after his arrest, saying, “Where was everyone? I got arrested for being on the beach with my surfboard. No one from this group was there to stand together.”

Meanwhile, at a news conference Saturday morning in front of a Lifeguard tower in Mission Beach, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, Police Chief David Nisleit and San Diego Lifeguard Chief James Gartland went over the rules regarding the lifting of some beach restrictions, scheduled for Monday at sunrise.

Phase 1 of the beach re-opening plan, announced Friday, includes restrictions such as no group gatherings, no parking and no lying down to soak up the sun.

“In Phase 1, we get to run, we get to swim, we get to walk on the beach and you get to fish,” Gartland said. “You come to the beach, you get your exercise, then you go back and follow the stay-at-home order.”

Gartland said there is no recreational boating allowed at this time, but it would be part of the Phase 2 plan.

Faulconer praised San Diego residents for following the rules at city parks earlier this week, which has led to Monday’s planned re-opening of beaches.

“San Diegans have done a very good job this past week, with our neighborhood parks, adhering to all the social distancing,” Faulconer said.

“It’s going to be incredibly important for Phase 1 that that spirit, cooperation and adherence transfers over to Phase 1 of the beach openings.”

Nisleit asked that beachgoers on Monday follow the social distancing rules.

“What I need is cooperation,” Nisleit said. “So you will see law enforcement, you’ll see our beach team out here to enforce physical distancing, face coverings.

“The more we do this, the more we can go on to Phase 2,” Nisleit said. “No sitting on the beach and no loitering on the beach. For those that want to refuse, they will be cited. We don’t want to do that, but we need people to adhere to the rules. It allows us to get to Phase 2 and beyond. The better cooperation, the sooner we do that.”

As for the weekend protests, Nisleit said he supports the right to protest, but noted that some beach restrictions will be lifted on Monday, and urged Sunday’s protesters to stay at home and wait one day.

Officials in the beach cities of Del Mar and Solana Beach say they will not reopen beaches on Monday.


Jeremy K. April 27, 2020 at 7:12 pm

Yes I are the majority because of the sun kills the virus. Rights are left to the center. I wants Noble Prize and Lysol shots, bleach. Yes. Logan’s run… old people’s gonna die anyhoo. Soylent green and da immune people’s can die two. I wants free dumb.

I wants cheeseberger an tuna. ?

Jeremy K. April 26, 2020 at 12:17 pm

Today is a day of reflection that as a society we wield the power of life, health, and wellness in the long run by our behaviors today. It is time to set aside our selfish desires and send our love to those families so devastated by the loss of loved ones… to think of the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, children lost and the enormous heartbreak across the nation. We should all do our best to stop community spread and to set aside our petty non-essential needs to have someone else do your hair, nails, or whatever…

It’s painful to see the selfishishness and the thoughtlessness of people like Crista Curtis and Julie Thunder and to know there are tens of thousands more slated to die because of her behaviors, which actively undermine and illegally negate our efforts to save those lives and to more quickly restore our economy, health security, and sense of normalcy.

Rudy Baker April 26, 2020 at 12:35 am

Jeremy so are you the majority should lose their rights to use the beaches and get sun which destroys virus because of the small percentage of immune comprised and frail old people who are not going to the beach anyway? The flu season deaths are still greater the this Covid19 nonsense yet no lockdown on any previous flu lseason. Live

Jeremy K. April 27, 2020 at 7:54 pm

Yes, and the sun is only available at the beach. There is water at the bottom of the ocean. Under the water, carry the water. Remove the Lysol at the bottom of the ocean. I are the majority.

Jan Rogers April 25, 2020 at 8:20 pm

This is not news. How many protesters? What a joke.

concerned April 25, 2020 at 5:06 pm

Jeremy K.,

A Blakespear clone.

Jeremy K. April 25, 2020 at 4:57 pm

We have a higher regard for life and health. Like, wow, Spicolli, maybe inject a can of Lysol, huh. “What’ve you got to lose?”

Not to worry, though, “concerned”…. plenty of people will be sickened on the Rail Trail and at the popular breaks and through general untraceability/zero accountability for transmission. It’s our Silver Linings Playbook. ? ? ? ? People just kinda die and you get to go surfing ?‍♀️ and Crista gets her hair and nails done. ?. Those freedoms transcend others rights and sacrifices to health and life.

Donna Ellen April 25, 2020 at 5:36 pm

She is a self absorbed bitch. I hope that karma comes for her. And soon. Look at her Facebook profile. Dumb broad. She is the quintissenital bimbo.

concerned April 25, 2020 at 3:50 pm

Huntington and Newport Beach are expecting 50,000 people at their beaches today. (item on MSN). Those beaches are open, yet in SD people are arrested for stepping on the beach and not staying home. Go figure.

Glen April 26, 2020 at 2:48 pm

Absolute unmitigated government over reach. The sooner the government understands they have no right to “order” people to stay at home the better; it’s unenforceable recommendation. Martial law is limited to executive branch and has not been declared and shouldn’t be. It’s just a matter of time before protests start to turn violent. Covid exposure, like any other risk in life, is up to the individual. If you’re at risk, stay at home.

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