It’s barely been two months since local residents and fitness junkies were allowed to return to pump iron on the sunny shore of Santa Monica’s Muscle Beach but visitors are once again prohibited from utilizing the popular workout area.
COVID-19 forced city officials to close Muscle Beach and other Santa Monica parks when safer-at-home orders were instituted by state and Los Angeles County officials who sought to control the region’s surging case counts.
City leaders worked with Santa Monica gyms and fitness centers to allow outdoor classes in public spaces but residents were adamant that Muscle Beach should also be available for use. In November, the County cleared recreation areas like Muscle Beach for reopening as long as users wore a mask and were socially distanced at all times; limited their visit to thirty minutes if others were using the equipment; and chose not to eat or drink on the grounds.
However, due to users’ non-compliance with public health requirements, Muscle Beach was closed last Thursday and will remain so indefinitely, City Spokesperson Constance Farrell said.
“The rings and ropes have been removed and the green space has been closed off and will undergo improvement work during the closure,” she said. “We ask for the community’s support in slowing the spread of COVID-19 by not gathering, wearing face coverings, and maintaining physical distancing when out of the home for essential trips.”
However, the best way to stay safe is to stay home, Farrell added, mentioning Muscle Beach is the only park closure as of now. In an attempt to contribute to regional efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County and beyond, the city has also decided to temporarily close the Santa Monica Pier every Saturday and Sunday from now until Sunday, January 31.
Based on observations over the weekend, guidance from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and where COVID-19 positivity rates and hospital capacity are, city leaders believe it best to move forward with an abundance of caution and with community health in mind, Farrell said Monday when she discussed the topic.
“At this time, we encourage everyone to protect their own health and our healthcare and essential workers by staying home except for essential purposes,” she said.
Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer recommended earlier this week that anyone who lives with someone who may be vulnerable to COVID-19 should wear a face covering at home as well.
“If you’re a worker who’s leaving every day, or [if] you’re somebody who has to run the essential errands in your family,” Ferrer said, “it will just add a layer of protection while we get through this surge.”