Memorial Day: Southern Californians should flock to beaches for vacation as authorities step up patrols

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Los Angeles and Orange County beaches are expected to be crowded for Memorial Day weekend, with increased police presence in many coastal areas to help with crowd control and enforce COVID-related rules.

Despite the marine layer in Santa Monica, some people were already staking their places on the beach Sunday morning.

Memorial Day weekend typically marks the start of summer, drawing large crowds to coastal areas – but with restrictions relaxed after more than a year, many are looking to break free from coronavirus containment.

Santa Monica has seen an influx of people sprawled out on the beach and in the water – a stark contrast to that time last year when Los Angeles County beaches were only open to active recreation.

Special carpet installed at Huntington Beach, providing better access for visitors in wheelchairs

With COVID-19 cases declining and vaccines widely available, people should make the most of the three-day weekend.

Beachgoers can expect to see increased patrols with additional officers to ensure people enjoy the holidays in a safe manner.

A beach team from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department – which typically assists with summer law enforcement – began weekend patrols on May 1 to deal with an increase in crowds as COVID restrictions were lifted.

MPs are on the lookout for beach goers with alcohol, which is illegal on county beaches, in hopes of reducing drunk driving on the Pacific Coast Highway and the winding roads of the canyons in Malibu.
Navigating PCH and its limited level crossings, crowded street parking lots and groups of cyclists can be dangerous even for sober drivers, officials have warned, noting that crashes are common and sometimes fatal. More pedestrians crossing the traffic lanes and more cyclists using the lean shoulders of the road will increase the risk this weekend.

When traffic decreases on the busy and scenic thoroughfare, motorists are advised to watch the speed limits. The California Highway Patrol will continue its street racing task force and will also have two CHP units to assist with traffic control on PCH.

The city has requested additional sheriff’s assistants and volunteers for patrols over the holiday weekend. Officials are also working in coordination with the county’s Department of Beaches and Ports, California State Parks, the Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority, and the CHP in anticipation of vacation and summer crowds.

Beaches and Harbors has increased its staff from mid-May to help with parking, maintenance and waste, and the MRCA plans to double patrols at its parks from Memorial Day to Labor Day. State parks will have seven-day coverage and will also monitor and process waste.

Residents can seek the assistance of the CHP with street racing by calling 323-259-3200 and can report impaired drivers by calling 9-1-1. Emergency and traffic alerts are available at www.MalibuCity.org/News.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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