Trash piled up, cars parked haphazardly on neighborhood streets, visitors trampled through sensitive habitat, accessed stairs that are under construction and used the lawns as restrooms. They’re the kind of activities that might shut a place down. But in Half Moon Bay, bad behavior by visitors has prompted the city to reopen parking lots and public restrooms at beaches that have been closed during the COVID-19 shelter-in-place period. Their reopening starts Saturday, May 30.
“It is hoped and expected that providing these services will alleviate some of the intensity of the problems during the influx of visitors last weekend,” the city said in a statement Thursday.
The statement added, “Along with the community members, the City of Half Moon Bay found these behaviors to be entirely unacceptable.”
Meanwhile, Pacifica Police Chief Daniel Steidle announced that beach parking will also reopen Saturday “in anticipation of a new San Mateo County Health Officer Health Order expected to be issued” today that will loosen prohibitions related to the beach.
Half Moon Bay officials urged visitors and locals to socially distance and to visit the beaches for activities allowed in the health order, such as running, walking, water sports or other physical activity. Only hours later, however, the San Mateo County health officer announced a newly revised order that allows all normal beach activities beyond exercise.
“The reopening of parking lots and restrooms applies to all beaches within Half Moon Bay, from approximately Cañada Verde Creek in the south, to Pillar Point Harbor in the north,” the city said. “Other coastside jurisdictions are exploring similar actions.”
Photo credit: City of Half Moon Bay
This story has been updated to reflect a newly revised public health order released hours after the publication of this story.