MANHATTAN BEACH, Calif. – Los Angeles may be famous for its beautiful beaches, but Los Angeles County is restricting access to all beaches, bike paths, promenades and piers in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Trainer Michael Reeves has a gym, but was forced to close due to the coronavirus, so he decided to train outdoors near the beach where many of his clients live.
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“I understand the urgency to keep people safe. That’s important,” said fitness trainer Michael Reeves. “I think we want to stay safe and want to be sure we can nip this in the bud. But at the same time, people sometimes really need to get out of the house because they need to stay sane. This is just making people crazy.”
But it’s for the best, L.A. County officials say, so they locked the gates, removed volleyball nets and closed bathrooms to discourage beach goers from congregating. But who will enforce these restrictions?
“We will also be coordinating with the sheriff and local law enforcement agencies to ensure compliance with this order,” said Gary Jones, Director of the Department of Beaches and Harbors.
That doesn’t give beach goers and businesses a lot of room to move around. Reeves prefers to train outdoors while adhering to social distancing and is disappointed by the public health order.
“I understand the urgency to keep everybody safe,” said Reeves. “I understand this is something that has to happen, but we got to also understand we need to find a balance and that's what life is, finding a balance.”
Though the order may keep residents physically safe, Reeves worries our mental health may suffer.
“When you put people in a box, they will act differently. When people are more free, they feel more comfortable,” said Reeves.
Yvonne Stevens has lived in Manhattan Beach for 28 years.
“Well we just got kicked off the beach,” said Stevens. “We do intend to follow the order. I think in the long-term, the quicker we can get through this the better. And I do think though that people are going to go from the beach and the Strand to the next block over. It's hard to not to enjoy this beautiful weather.”
For these residents, beach life is about to get less beachy. The restriction also includes beach facilities and beach access ways and as of right now will last until April 19.
“It’s sad, what’s going on, it really is,” said Reeves. “But, we’ll get through it. I think it’s just a matter of time. We’ll pray and we’ll get through this.”
For now, hang ten while you’re safer at home.