Safer at Home Orders Mostly Obeyed in Malibu

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Sheriff’s deputies congregate at Surfrider Beach on Wednesday, April 8, in response to surfers hitting the waves in the evening amid closed beaches.

After the first two weekends of Safer at Home orders proved near disastrous in Malibu with beaches, the pier and trails swamped with weekend warriors, this past weekend proved fairly quiet. During the first weekend of beach parking lots, trailheads and community parks cordoned off to encourage the public to stay at home, the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station reported one solitary arrest for defying state and county orders. The arrest occurred Wednesday evening, April 8, at Surfrider Beach. A man refusing to leave the water was taken into custody for defying California Government code 8665. The code is a misdemeanor and carries a $1,000 fine. Malibu/Lost Hills Watch Commander James Braden also reported a citation was given to someone near Topanga State Beach who allegedly tossed away some LA County Beaches and Harbors “No Parking” signs. Overall, Braden termed the weekend “quiet,” saying people have generally been cooperative while adhering to social distancing. 

While poor weekend weather may have contributed to more people staying at home, there were a few reports of speeders from canyon residents who complained of car clubs joyriding through their neighborhoods. Braden called it “nothing out of the ordinary” for Malibu and said there was “continuing law enforcement in the canyons and on Pacific Coast Highway.”

Because there’s been “more education about the public health order” to stay off the beaches, Los Angeles County Lifeguards Public Information Officer Pono Barnes reported his department—while not authorized to issue citations—only needed to advise some stragglers here and there to stay off bike paths and beaches. He credited the sheriff’s department with already being on top of the situation.

LASD Sergeant Brad Feder reiterated that beaches, parks and trails are closed even if you live there. 

“We’re trying to educate the public,” Feder said. “We like people to listen to verbal warnings. The last thing we want to do is cite someone. If we don’t gain compliance, it may be something we have to do. We understand it’s hard times, but if we get too many people on the beaches like two weekends ago—this is a critical time. We don’t want anyone to get infected or sick.”

Malibu Mayor Karen Farrer has safety on her mind as well. When asked about violations posted on social media, she responded, “The Sheriff doesn’t respond to social media. The most effective way to deal with non-compliance of orders is to call the Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station.

To Farrer, the best course of action is self-control and personal responsibility.

“Everybody everywhere, have common sense,” the mayor said. “Comply with the county orders. Set a good example. If each person were responsible for their own actions, a lot of problems would be eliminated.”