BEACHES

BEACH RULES

BEACH REOPENINGS

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the new beach restrictions. We encourage everyone to follow the rules so we can keep the beaches open!

This page was last updated April 12, 2021.

Yes! Beaches are open during their normal operating hours. Almost every activity is permitted, including sunbathing, biking, fishing and beach volleyball. Small gatherings of up to 15 people from up to three households are allowed. Still prohibited are large gatherings and other events. Bonfires on the beach are illegal.

Even though it’s the beach, you are required to wear a face mask when you’re out of the water, and make sure to stay at least 6 feet away from people who aren’t from your household.

We do ask that you plan to limit your time at the beach so others can enjoy the beach without creating crowds. Please avoid crowded areas or crowding around others at the beach. Beaches that become too crowded may be forced to close.

You can do normal beach things! You’re free to play in the sand, swim, take up shore fishing, play volleyball, bike the Marvin Braude Bike Trail, surf, sunbathe, set up a canopy, relax in a beach chair, bring a cooler and have a picnic, visit most piers, and more. What you’re not allowed to do: host a big party or have a bonfire.

Groups of up to 15 people are permitted to gather; however, these groups can only include people from one, two or three households. In practice, this means that you can go to the beach with anyone who lives in the same house as you, e.g. a roommate, spouse or child, as well as folks from two other households. You cannot go to the beach to hang out with your roommate, your next-door neighbor, your cousins from down the street, and your best friend from the next city over at the same time, because that would be people from four households.

Don’t forget to keep yourself and your household safe. You’re required to wear a face mask at all times, unless you are in the water, or eating or drinking. And, remember to keep at least 6 feet of physical distance when you’re around people who aren’t in your household.

Try to prevent yourself and your household from spreading germs. Don’t share food or drinks with people outside your household, and don’t share toys and sports equipment with others. Definitely don’t share your snorkel! Otherwise, practice good hand hygiene—wash your hands or use hand sanitizer often, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. You should probably pack some hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol in your beach bag along with water, snacks, sunscreen, wipes and towel.

We do ask that you plan to limit your time at the beach so others can enjoy the beach without creating crowds. Please avoid crowded areas or crowding around others at the beach. Beaches that become too crowded may be forced to close.

No and no. The fire pits at Dockweiler State Beach were removed because gatherings of any size were prohibited under the original beach reopening restrictions. While the restrictions have loosened to allow up to 15 people from up to three households to gather, the fire pits remain in storage.  People tend to gather around the fire pits, and we have no way to police the number of people and households in these gatherings. We do not know when the fire pits will return to the beach. Personal fire pits or grills are never permitted on Los Angeles County beaches or in beach parking lots. Additionally, bonfires built directly on the sand are illegal and hazardous to other beachgoers.

Everyone over the age of 2 must wear a face mask. Masks should have at least two layers of tightly woven, breathable material. They must completely cover your nose and mouth and fit snugly against the sides of your face and around your nose. (More information about masks.) The only exceptions are while you are in the water, or while you’re eating or drinking. Please note that some cities may have stricter requirements on face masks.

Like everyone else, surfers don’t have to wear face masks when they’re in the ocean. They do have to wear them on the sand.

Yes! Just make sure to keep at least 6 feet of space between you and anyone who is not part of your household (even in the water). Please don’t share snorkels or mouthpieces.

Remember, wear a face mask when you’re not in the water!

Absolutely! In March, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health gave us the OK to put the nets back on the courts. Please remember to follow our guidelines for court use and all public health guidance.

According to the Department of Public Health, organized sports events, such as tournaments or competitions between multiple teams, are not allowed on the beaches, unless the organizer of the tournament or competition receives written authorization from Public Health. Applications are available in Public Health’s Protocol for Youth and Adult Recreational Sports Leagues.

Please note: You will need permission from Public Health and a valid beach use permit for any tournaments on beaches managed by the Department of Beaches and Harbors. For more information, please call the Permits Section at 424-526-7880 and leave a message. Your call will be returned within one business day.

Most beach camps, including surf camps, are permitted to open as long as they have the appropriate permits or licenses and follow the reopening guidelines provided by the Department of Public Health. Other athletic camps, such as those for beach volleyball or beach soccer, are also permitted as long as they have the appropriate permits or licenses and follow the protocols for youth and adult recreational sports leagues. For more information about a specific camp, please contact the camp operator.

Beach restrooms are open, but due to COVID-19 precautions, the restrooms are required to be cleaned and sanitized much more frequently. This has resulted in a few restrooms being taken offline because of staffing and service constraints. Nevertheless, there are open restrooms or portable toilets available at nearly every beach managed by the Department of Beaches and Harbors. Please note that open restrooms may be temporarily unavailable while crews are cleaning them.

Yes! Lifeguards are on the beach and in the towers. Please note that all towers may not be staffed at all times. Staffing decisions are up to the Los Angeles County lifeguards, who are part of the Los Angeles County Fire Department, and can be affected by the season, day of the week and even the weather.

Remember, always surf or swim near an open lifeguard tower!

Many beach parking lots are open. Almost all parking lots operated by the Department of Beaches and Harbors are open.

Check beach parking lot status:

If you are looking for information on a parking lot not included on the maps above, please contact the parking lot’s operator for assistance.

If you plan to park on the street, please check with the local city or municipality that has jurisdiction over the specific beach you plan to visit, as each community may have different rules for street parking. If you find street parking, remember to follow any posted parking restrictions.

All accessways maintained by the Department of Beaches and Harbors are open to the public. Please note that the Department of Beaches and Harbors does not maintain all beach accessways in Malibu. Some are maintained by the City of Malibu, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority or California State Parks. Questions about those accessways should be addressed to their respective entity.

The Dockweiler State Beach Low Cost Parking Program, which allowed the first 300 visitors to pay a discounted parking rate, has been suspended. Unfortunately, due to the County’s current fiscal crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Beaches and Harbors can no longer afford to subsidize parking fees at Dockweiler State Beach, as revenue from the parking lots helps offset the costs of beach maintenance services.

We do not know when the program will return.

The Department of Beaches and Harbors does not have the authority to enforce the Health Officer’s order; it can only educate beachgoers on current rules and restrictions. We rely on our partners in local law enforcement to issue citations, if necessary.

Lifeguards’ primary duty is to ensure the safety of people in the water. They are not there to police the beach.

We don’t know. The length of the period will be determined by the County’s COVID-19 recovery status, as well as the behavior of beachgoers.

The first weekend of the Health Officer’s Order, tens of thousands of people flocked to L.A. County beaches. These crowds and group gatherings were in violation of the order. As a result, the Department of Public Health elected on March 27, 2020, to amend the order to close all the beaches in its jurisdiction. The beaches reopened with another amendment to the Health Officer’s Order on May 13, 2020.

The beaches were closed again over Fourth of July weekend (starting Friday, July 3, 2020, at 12:01 a.m.) due to concerns about excessive crowds. The beaches reopened that Monday at 5 a.m.

We don’t know. While the Department of Beaches and Harbors and cities can often offer operational input into public health issues affecting the beaches, any restrictions or changes in status are, in most cases, ultimately up to the Department of Public Health.

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