Last Saturday, I went to the closed office to return some emails and pick up some files and the mail. As I left to return home around lunchtime, I found that we had suddenly become Disneyland on a national holiday! The Malibu Pier was packed. Westbound traffic was backed up to the Civic Center and everywhere I looked there were crowds of all ages who apparently hadn’t tuned in to Governor Newsom’s excellent address on “social distancing” and the severity of our current situation. As I approached Malibu Seafood, I was shocked to see cars parked all the way up the hill to Puerco Canyon on both sides of PCH. As I crept past Malibu Seafood, I saw a tightly packed line of hungry people across the front and into the parking lot. The levels of outside dining were overflowing with people standing looking at the water. As I continued up the coast, it was apparent that Joe Edmiston’s Winding Way hikes to the waterfall were in full swing with cars parked everywhere. Zuma Beach and the parking lot for Vintage Grocers were also packed with holiday makers.
As I entered the house it became apparent that I was not the only one to have noticed the craziness, as my phone, email and Nextdoor were blowing up with accounts of scary, stupid behavior. The Florida spring breakers had nothing on the idiotic behavior that was observed that day. Saturday night, sheriff’s deputies stopped and arrested people racing on PCH. I contacted some people at City Hall, including City Manager Reva Feldman, who spent the entire day Sunday on the phone with every contact in her address book here and in Sacramento.
Everyone seems to have decided that the governor’s “Safer at Home” order was just an advisory without the force of law. It seems that California State Parks, which owns the Malibu Pier, still has not gotten the message as the pier is still open today.
Joe Edmiston’s Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy has gotten the message and reportedly ordered their facilities closed on Sunday. The National Park Service, which owns Solstice Canyon, has followed suit. I’ve just heard that Zuma, which is run by the county, is closing its parking lots. I’ve noticed an increased sheriff’s presence in the city as I write this on Monday afternoon. I’m hoping they will let our visitors know that this is not the end of the world and that laws still apply to them.
In the next week, Los Angeles will start to see an increase in the number of COVID-19 diagnoses as it becomes easier to be tested. As the numbers rise, more Angelenos should return from their little trip to Denial (not the river in Egypt). We can only hope they will moderate their behavior. I believe our current California staycation will be extended until at least the middle of April.
We are blessed by being a less dense community that makes infection less likely as long as we don’t do anything stupid.
Now, to a little good news. The rumor that the toilet paper shortage is because it is all manufactured in China is false. All three of the major TP manufacturers, Cottonelle, Angelsoft and Kimberly Clark, are manufactured in the USA. On Monday the 16th they all issued statements. All three are currently operating 24 hours a day and shipping everything they make, in many cases directly to the grocery companies. They have no intention of slowing down until everyone’s garage and attic is packed to overflowing with paper products. If you are one of the people who can no longer park your car inside because you have a year’s supply of TP, paper towels and Kleenex, congratulations! You have won!
I am heartened that so many Americans have realized that their crazy prepper neighbor is not that crazy. I hope that your current activities in that direction will result in a more resilient Malibu that is better prepared for whatever the future brings. Don’t forget to date and organize your supplies so that you can use and replace them prior to the expiration dates. Stay California Strong and remember we are all “Safer at Home” for the next few weeks.