REGION — Golf courses and parks across San Diego County will open today in limited fashion, while county health authorities have now made face coverings mandatory in public settings.
The new guidelines offer both a loosening of some health orders and tightening of others, as stay-at-home orders will be extended indefinitely in accordance with the state’s guidance.
Parks will begin to open today, County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said Thursday, with individual cities making the decision on which to open and when. The county is allowing for parking lots to be opened at half capacity, and cities must post social-distancing protocols near the entrances to parks.
Additionally, members of the same household can now lawfully engage in team sports like baseball, soccer or frisbee, Fletcher said. However, cities that fail to enforce social-distancing and facial-covering protocols
could see parks forcibly shuttered by the county again.
Golf courses will open today with similar restrictions — no personal golf instruction, no golf carts, no sit-down food and no congregating — and the courses are required to take temperature checks of employees and customers.
Speculation arose Wednesday night that Gov. Gavin Newsom might order the closure of all beaches statewide to prevent crowds from gathering. The speculation prompted a swift backlash from some Southern California officials.
Ultimately, Newsom announced Thursday he was only closing beaches in Orange County, where he said crowds were prevalent during last weekend’s heatwave.
Del Mar was set to reopen its beaches for recreation activities Thursday morning, but city officials withdrew those plans amid the possibility of Newsom issuing a statewide beach closure.
Beaches in San Diego, Oceanside, Encinitas, Coronado and Imperial Beach reopened for recreation activities Monday, but beaches in Carlsbad, Del Mar and Solana Beach remain closed.
While San Diego County will make its own decision regarding beach openings, Newsom still wields authority to rescind the loosening of those restrictions.
Beaches remain open for walking, running and cycling “where appropriate,” Fletcher said. Active water sports such as kayaking, surfing and swimming are permitted. Beach parking lots remain closed.
San Diego County officials gave the green light for recreational boating as well on the county’s lakes, bays and ocean, as long as members of a boating party were restricted to members of the same household.
“No party boats, no party barges,” Fletcher said.
County officials also clarified the facial-covering health order. Residents must wear coverings when going into a store or business, around people in their offices and when within six feet of other people who are not members of their household.
People are not required to wear coverings at home or in their yard, their car, while jogging or surfing or if they have a medical condition preventing them from wearing a facial covering. Coverings include a mask, bandanna, scarf or even a T-shirt.
County health officials announced 132 new COVID-19 cases on Thursday and four additional deaths.
The new cases bring the county’s cumulative total to 3,564 cases and 124 deaths.
The additional deaths were four men, ranging in age from their mid-50s to late 80s. Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer, said three of them had underlying medical conditions.
Currently, 355 people testing positive or presumed-positive for COVID- 19 are in hospitals, 136 of whom are in the ICU.
Thursday’s updated numbers increased the total hospitalized because of COVID-19 to 773 and the number of people who spent at least some time in intensive care to 244.
The county and its medical partners tested 1,129 people Wednesday, with 6% returning positive. Those entities have completed more than 51,000 tests since the beginning of the pandemic, and the positive percentage of tests has decreased by a little more than 1% since April 1, a sign the region may be
seeing a decreased imprint from the illness, according to San Diego County Public Health.
The rate of hospitalization among COVID-19 positive cases is 21.7%, the rate of intensive care treatment is 6.8% and the mortality rate is 3.5%. All three percentages have been slowly decreasing.
Wooten reported 47 active outbreaks in the county as of Thursday. Of those, 31 came in congregate living facilities and could be traced to 725 cases and 64 deaths. The other 16 community outbreaks could be traced to 140 cases and five deaths.