Saturday, March 21 was a beautiful, sunny day in Pacific Palisades. Crowds appeared at local beaches, the piers and on hiking trails. Some people had difficulty realizing the importance of keeping social distance, that it might save a life if and when the coronavirus explodes in Los Angeles
Typical were reports posted on Nextdoor Palisades, such as “I was shocked about how many people were out and about at the beach and in the Palisades Village area. Did anyone listen to what the mayor had to say??” Another writer noted that PCH was packed: “It was almost like it’s Fourth of July!” A third resident reported a long line of cars waiting to turn into the beach parking lot at Temescal.
Another person wrote that they went to the top of Paseo Miramar to see how crowded the hiking trail would be and “It is PACKED with people. I turned around. Cars all stuck trying to turn around. A complete nightmare. Los Liones the same. Not safe at all, people are shoulder to shoulder in most cases! The hiking trails cannot handle current overload of people!”
Meanwhile, the Tuna Canyon/Labyrinth Hike was also swarmed, and a resident wrote: “Parking all along the road until it hits one way. It was a zoo out there.”
This afternoon (March 22), officials had to “help” convince people who could not understand they needed to stay home by announcing various recreational closures.
Santa Monica closed its beach parking lots because of the crowds. “Today is not the day to go to the beach,” City Manager Rick Cole said in a statement. “We know that it’s difficult to stay at home when the weather is so nice and being close to the beach is one of the primary reasons why we love to call Santa Monica home. Yet this is a time when we must take the guidelines from our health officials to heart.”
The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority also announced on Sunday that it was closing all of its parks and trails, which include Temescal Gateway Park and the hiking trail that goes to the waterfall and connects with Will Rogers and Topanga State Parks. Parking lots and access roads also will be closed.
When he announced that the Venice Pier parking lots and City golf courses, such as Penmar and Rancho Park, would be closed, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti emphasized, “This is serious — six feet matters. This isn’t about you… it’s about everyone.”
“Safer at Home” means:
Stay home (stay unexposed and do not expose others),
Only go out for essential services,
Stay six feet or more away from others,
And don’t gather in groups.
As of 12 p.m. on March 22, there have been 409 cases of coronavirus in Los Angeles County and five deaths.
Pacific Palisades has recorded six cases, Brentwood 16, Santa Monica four, and the Santa Monica Mountains two.