Restrictions at 3 beaches in Avila area now in place

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Posted at 5:37 PM, Apr 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-15 20:38:25-04

Added restrictions for beachgoers at three beaches in the Avila area are now in effect.

“No loitering on the beach and no beach set-ups including towels, chairs, and blankets will be allowed,” that’s a direct quote from the Port San Luis Harbor District on new restrictions put in place Wednesday at Avila, Fisherman’s, and Old Port beaches.

“They can come down and exercise. Any kind of movement is what we’re really encouraging,” said Matt Ashton, Port San Luis Harbor chief patrol officer.

Signs reading “COVID-19 – walking/running, swimming ONLY” are at every entrance to the three beaches. Why? Some weren’t following the shelter-at-home order.

“We were seeing a lot of groups that were not abiding by that criteria,” Ashton said. “Our options are – we’d like to start with education. (We’ll) walk up, see what they’re doing, and see what their plans are. If they’re blatantly, after a couple contacts, setting up on the beach, they’re trying to stay for a couple hours at a time, then we have the options of either evictions or citations.”

Harbor patrol is putting a “less than an hour” restriction on people at the beach until further notice. George Vukcevich and his family planned on having a beach day at Avila Wednesday, but the restrictions changed it up a bit.

“For the sake of mankind, they’re fair. Obviously, it’s an inconvenience for everyone at the time, but if you have to social distance to make sure you’re doing the right thing, then it’s fine,” Vukcevich said. “Still a beautiful day enjoying the beach, just from a different perspective.”

If beachgoers don’t abide by the guidelines now in place, restrictions could escalate.

“Our local community is frustrated. They want to take advantage of the beach,” Ashton said. “We understand it. One of the last things we want to do is close the beach, so this is the next logical step.”

Wednesday was the first day of restrictions and, so far, Ashton says the feedback is about 50/50 between positive and negative.