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Moonlight Beach in Encinitas has been closed, along with all other city beaches, parks and trails. Courtesy photo
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Encinitas ramps up containment efforts in response to coronavirus

As the region fights to contain the coronavirus pandemic, the city of Encinitas is ramping up its containment efforts by following regional suggestions and closing open spaces like beaches, playgrounds and trails.

As of March 24, there were seven positive COVID-19 cases in Encinitas.

“The City of Encinitas is trying to do everything we can to slow the spread and we’re doing our part with closing beaches, playgrounds, any place where people are gathering,” Mayor Catherine Blakespear said Tuesday. “I think it’s really important that we all work together and internalize the message that we need to take as few trips and gather with as few people as possible. The stay at home order is undermined when we go out and gather together.”

After speaking with the Community Resource Center (CRC) on Tuesday, the mayor said the city is providing more funding to the nonprofit organization to help rent hotel rooms for people who are vulnerable to the virus but asymptomatic.

“There are people who would be vulnerable because they are sleeping outside or they’re in overcrowded situations and they should be in a hotel,” she said. “We’ve placed about 30 more people into hotel rooms.”

Blakespear said people can reach out to the CRC at (760) 753-1156 to inquire about securing a hotel room.

Additionally, vulnerable and homeless residents experiencing symptoms should call 211, a county resource and information hub that connects people with community, health and disaster services.

Blakespear has been busy working with business owners and tenants regarding the closures of bars, restaurants and small businesses in the city. She said it’s important that tenants of small businesses are in contact with their landlords and are clear about what their circumstances are. And they should also realize that landlords have mortgages and bills they have to pay, as well.

“I don’t want to minimize the severity of the economic impact,” Blakespear said. “The idea is that we have to share the pain, nobody will take the full economic responsibility for it, and we’ll try to do everything we can to come through this.”

Sherry Yardley, Acting CEO for the Encinitas Chamber of Commerce, said the lockdown on non-essential businesses, such as the retail industry, the health and beauty industries, and services like tailoring, printing, and entertainment, is causing a get hardship to many in the community.

“Our small businesses are the ones who are taking the brunt of this blast,” Yardley said. “(They) are concerned for the overall health of their business. They are wondering if they’ll be able to recover once this crisis is over.”

Yardley said many small business owners are wondering what kind of relief the local and federal government might provide during and after the crisis ends.

“Some are worried that they are going to lose everything they have worked so hard for,” she said. “This is very disheartening as several have spent many years building up their businesses only to face the fact that they might have to close their doors permanently.”

Yardley said the community can help support businesses by ordering takeout and delivery from restaurants, buying gift cards, shopping local online, pre-scheduling future appointments, and donating to the small local non-profits whose fundraisers have been canceled.

Residents can also reach out to their favorite local businesses to help provide its services while practicing social distancing, such as assisting with doorstep deliveries. Yardley said anyone can contact businesses that don’t have an online presence and see if they can order something directly from them or set up future services, ensuring that when the lockdown lifts appointments will be on their books.

“We will get through this challenging time as a community working together and supporting each other,” Yardley said.

Blakespear agrees that despite the current conditions, the city and its residents will get through. She’s enjoyed seeing instances of people lending a hand, be it people shopping for seniors, donating essential items, such as toilet paper, or opening their homes to somebody who needs a place to stay.

And the mayor is leading by example, as her own family opened their home to a musician friend, a cellist who recently had nine months of touring dates canceled.

“We are a resilient community and it’s heartening to see how many people come forward to want to help others in this time of need,” she said.

6 comments

Bhavani Kirnak March 29, 2020 at 5:14 pm

After pushing hard to open the homeless parking lot right down the throats of neighbors, now Encinitas must deal with new homeless both placed there from elsewhere in the county by Jewish Family Services as well as the countless new homeless who have been drawn to the area by JFS, Leichtag, and the City’s relentless advertising of Encinitas as the new supportive-to-the-homeless beach town. So now of course the priority is the builders/property owners + to cover the homeless problems created by Blakespear’s own recent actions. The real irritant in this article is Blakespear’s constant advertising of her own “charity” by housing a musician friend in her family estate. How does it go? “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.”

Encinitas local March 28, 2020 at 10:35 am

Closing beaches is ridiculous. I like the above mentioned idea from ‘Surfanut’ to reopen beaches.
Encinitas city council needs to start thinking creatively, and realize if people are maintaining their social distancing, then let them enjoy the beach or the park at their risk.

Mibemo March 27, 2020 at 8:45 pm

Not a single mention by city leadership of the minimum wage workers unable to earn a living. So much concern for property owners, but not the workers that created their wealth.

Surfanut March 27, 2020 at 10:23 am

On closing the beaches… understood, particularly when sunny days returned to Encinitas, massive amounts of people swamped the beaches. I saw them, 90% obeying the social distancing rules—only family members together, 6 ft apart. Many were surfers in the water, but by the nature of the sport, these were individuals, distant from one another. Given what a long ride this may be & for people’s health and sanity, why can’t beaches be reopened with strict new governance? This can be done in Encinitas because of the limited access points on our beaches. Keep lifeguards paid/working and posted at all stairs entrances, S. Cardiff, Moonlight, N. entrances. Give out limited no. (say 50) color-coded tickets with 2 hr time stamp. Once tickets are gone, no more entries until next 2 hour window. Lifeguards or trucks can stop anyone, no ticket or overstay time, then citation. Beaches open under these controlled restraints, 7-5pm PERIOD.

Vin March 28, 2020 at 12:02 pm

I disagree on opening beaches with guidelines. There must not be any grey areas. The rules must be clear cut and dry. If not, there will be excuses and more people will be out and around. The point is to keep everyone inside. If you have surfers then you will have people on the beach laying out saying they were surfing and you will have people on the streets saying they are returning from the beach. It needs to be plain and simple. Nobody out in public.

Tom March 26, 2020 at 2:47 pm

The City doesn’t let Small businesses open, but all these most likely undocumented workers, with no health care, working non-essential construction jobs that are high risk for injury (and taking up a hospital bed) are still gathering, still not practicing social distancing and on sites with NON-ESSENTIAL work they are doing. The rest of us self-isolate and watch them from our windows while they get paid.

No masks, porta potties with no soap/washing stations, not a single new regulation for them, but if you walk on the beach alone, prepare to pay $1000! A small business that probably has health care, and a few workers, and could regulate customer density has to close?

It’s a joke response by our Mayor. Or maybe it’s because the Builders Association Lobby owns our Council and doesn’t want their work shutdown so they are getting a pass. And all these contractors with their illegal labor pool just don’t care about you, only their selfish interests.

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