FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Scott Collins, City Manager – O: (805) 772-6206
March 26, 2020
City to Close Popular Beach Parking Lots and Boat Launch Ramp,
Beginning Friday, March 27 at 6:00 pm
Morro Bay, CA – The City’s primary focus is to prioritize public health and well-being and to minimize the opportunity for the spread of and exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Therefore, in adherence to the State and County of San Luis Obispo’s “Shelter at Home” orders, the City is closing the public parking lots near Morro Rock, the public Boat Launch on the waterfront and the beach parking areas located off Atascadero Road. This follows similar actions taken by the State of California and other local governments to further discourage non-essential activity and gatherings of any size.
“We all saw the proliferation of recreators on Southern California beaches last weekend,” said City Manager, Scott Collins. “We feel that was irresponsible, and we must all do our part to follow the social distancing guidelines established by Governor Newsom and the SLO County Public Health officer. Closing popular beach parking lots will help discourage large gatherings on our beaches and in our community.”
Notice of closure signs have been posted at the City’s boat launch ramp, Morro Rock parking area, and beach access parking areas located off Atascadero road, indicating that the parking lots and areas will be closed effective 6:00 p.m. on Friday, March 27th until further notice. The City will strictly enforce the parking and social distancing regulations.
The City recognizes that everyone needs a break from social isolation, and enjoying our beautiful natural environment provides just such a break. We continue to encourage our residents to get outside for some fresh air, go for a walk, run or bike ride, but to do so responsibly, either solo or with a member of your household and close to home. The City will require beachgoers to limit their outings on the beach to walks or runs of no more than one hour. Surfing, kayaking, Stand up Paddling (SUP), and similar water activities will continue to be allowed.
These parking lot and ramp closures come just ahead of the local rockfish and salmon fishing seasons. The City is proud of our fishing heritage and has always looked forward to the start of these recreational fishing seasons and welcoming fishers from all over to our community to experience and enjoy the fishing sport. The decision to close the boat ramp area and popular beach parking lots was not made lightly, but the City feels it is the right thing to do for the health and well-being of our community. The ramp will remain open to licensed commercial fishers because commercial fishing is considered an “essential” business activity.
While the City thanks our tourists and visitors for coming to our City and recognizing the abundant outdoor recreational opportunities here, we encourage our visitors to explore their own hometowns during this time and know that Morro Bay will welcome back all visitors after the pandemic is fully addressed. Again, we feel prioritization health and safety is our primary focus and we want to curtail the spread of and exposure to this virus as much as possible. The City asks for your understanding and cooperation during these challenging and unprecedented times.
If you would like more information about this topic, please contact City Manager, Scott Collins at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 805-772-6206.