City Fills Skatepark With 37 Tons of Sand to Keep Kids and Parents Away amid Coronavirus

Skateboarders in Southern California were met with a surprise this week when they found their local skatepark entirely covered in sand.

According to KCBS, officials in the Orange County city of San Clemente closed parks and facilities on April 1 in response to the coronavirus pandemic. But in violation of the city’s restrictions, skateboarders continued to visit Ralphs Skate Court over the next two weeks.

“On April 1, we kind of let it play out to see if users would abide by the closure,” Samantha Wylie, San Clemente’s recreation manager for the Beaches, Parks and Recreation Department, told the San Clemente Times.

“During that [two-week period], we saw people continue to skate the park, groups would gather, kids with their parents; it became a regular [occurrence],” she added. “It appeared the closure was not being abided by.”

With both parents and skateboarders ignoring the city’s restrictions, San Clemente officials decided to put a final stop to it — with lots of sand.

“The sand was what other agencies were doing,” Wylie explained. “We’re doing what other parks have done to enforce that message of social distancing.”

The city reportedly trucked in a whopping 37 tons of sand, which they poured all over the skatepark’s surface — eliminating almost any opportunity for skaters to roll down the ramps.

Still, at least one skateboarder was seen riding through openings in the sand on Friday, video from KCBS showed.

The city said they examined other options before pouring sand into the park.

“We did consider fencing. Fencing is really difficult to get right now, and we know we’ve done fencing at the skate park before, and it just gets hopped over,” Wylie told the San Clemente Times.

“We also considered security, but there’s a cost to that,” she added. “The sand, it cost us nothing to put it in, [and] it’ll cost us nothing to remove it. So that’s why we went with that decision.”

Still, the move was criticized by the San Clemente Skatepark Coalition, which said the city could have used social media to warn skaters of what would happen if they kept showing up.

“That visual representation of the city dumping sand into the skate park, it almost feels like, when you look at it, the city vandalized its own park, and I think it pains people to see it,” said the group’s president, Stephanie Aguilar.

According to a New York Times database, California has 28,324 cases and 980 deaths attributed to coronavirus as of Friday afternoon, while the U.S. as a whole has 681,727 cases and 31,647 deaths.

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