COVID-19: Beaches and Harbors response to the pandemic
Beach Closure Communications
Beginning on March 16 through mid-May 2020, beach closures were unprecedented, but through a combination of signage and messaging, the Department of Beaches and Harbors (DBH) successfully communicated the closure to Los Angeles County residents and visitors.
Despite official word of the closure coming less than 24 hours before it began, DBH successfully pivoted its messaging from “don’t crowd the beaches” to “the beaches are completely closed.” As part of the change in messaging, DBH created and ordered 312 signs for lifeguard towers, beach accessways and parking lot entrances; compiled talking points for Director Gary Jones, Executive Director of DBH, for the COVID-19 briefing and for members of the County Emergency Operations Center Joint Information Center (JIC); wrote a news release; updated the DBH website; and updated followers on social media. Additionally, Chief Carol Baker and Public Information Officer Nicole Mooradian spoke with reporters from dozens of news organizations and coordinated closely with the County’s Emergency Operations Center Joint Information Center to further inform the public throughout the closure. These communication methods—the signs, talking points, news release, website updates and social media posts—were largely successful, resulting in many empty beaches along the coastline.