Beverly Hills Readies for an Historic Memorial Day Weekend

Temperatures are forecast to reach 80 degrees this Memorial Day Weekend in Beverly Hills. The unofficial launch of the summer season would, in most years, include backyard pool parties, cookouts at the beach with friends and shopping excursions for Memorial Day sales. At this time last year, Jazz Fests, Dodger Games and Hollywood Bowl concerts offered seasonal diversions. Seniors at Beverly Hills High School were counting the days until their graduation ceremony. And local events honored our war dead, for whom Memorial Day was created.

This year, we’re once again united in battle, but the enemy is a virus.

Memorial Day Weekend 2020 will be different from past years, with traditional pastimes curtailed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing, mandatory face masks and the ongoing Safer at Home orders continue to affect every aspect of life, even though restrictions are easing. The latest L.A. County Department of Public Health (CDPH) order, issued May 13, began our collective move into stage two of a five-stage “Roadmap to Recovery.” However, it still requires residents to remain at home and only take essential trips outside when necessary. All nonessential gatherings and events among people not in the same household are prohibited, including religious services. 

Parks throughout the City of Beverly Hills will be open to the public during the upcoming Memorial Day holiday weekend. 

Face coverings continue to be mandated in the City for all persons if there is a potential to come within six feet of someone who is not a member of your household. The CDPH also mandates face coverings whenever there is or can be contact with others who are not household members in both public and private places. This includes interactions at businesses now open for curbside/door-side pick-up. City staff, including park rangers and police officers, will continue to monitor the City this weekend for compliance, Beverly Hills spokesperson Keith Sterling told the Courier. 

“While our parks will be open, the safest place for our community continues to be at home,” said Mayor Lester Friedman. “Those who do choose to leave their home should wear face coverings and keep a safe distance of six feet from others. Please help us protect the most vulnerable and save lives.” 

Several facilities in the City of Beverly Hills remain closed to the public, including Greystone Mansion & Garden; The Doheny Estate; Beverly Hills Public Library; Roxbury Community Center; La Cienega Community Center; La Cienega Tennis Center & Roxbury Park Tennis Courts; City of Beverly Hills Mini Parks and Playgrounds; and City of Beverly Hills Basketball Courts. 

Nearby, a number of outdoor spaces do offer a chance to enjoy the sunshine this weekend, albeit with restrictions. County beaches are open for active use only, such as running, surfing, swimming and walking. Everyone who is not in the water must wear a face mask. Don’t count on sunbathing, as “chairs, canopies, coolers, grills, and sitting or sunbathing are not allowed,” per the CDPH. Piers, bike paths and volleyball courts are closed at the beach, as are concessions and food vending. And, don’t head to the coastline unless you’re prepared for a hike. Most beach parking lots are closed, and prime spots along PCH go quickly. 

County-wide, facilities such as golf courses, tennis and pickleball courts, shooting and archery ranges, equestrian centers, model airplane areas, community gardens, regional parks and bike parks are generally open. But, they are subject to access and use restrictions to reduce crowding and the risk of COVID-19 transmission. 

Golfers, for example, can expect to encounter some unfamiliar physical distancing and other rules. For example, players cannot arrive on any tee box until the previous group has left the teeing ground. Only single riders are allowed in golf carts. Bunker rakes are not available. And, perhaps the most significant impact of all is the loss of the proverbial 19th Hole. County rules mandate that golfers must leave property immediately upon completion of play. Club houses, restaurants, pro shops, putting and chipping greens are all closed. 

In its latest order, the CDPH acknowledges that the use of recreational and multi-use trails “can be an important way to relieve stress, get some fresh air and vitamin D, stay active, and safely connect with nature.” Iconic destinations now open include the trails in Griffith Park. But, the Observatory, Travel Town, train rides, pony rides, merry-go-round and some roads in Griffith Park are closed. The popular Runyon Canyon Park is also closed, for fear of overcrowding. It is advisable to check websites before heading to any hiking area. New protocols in place include the requirement to alert fellow hikers ahead of you on a trail before passing them. Give them time to move six feet away. And, always wear a mask, even in remote destinations with few others around. 

Locations with crowds of people are off limits this weekend and for the foreseeable future, as well. The taboo list includes bars and nightclubs that do not serve food and the portions of wineries, breweries and taprooms that provide tastings; gyms and fitness centers; movie theaters, drive-in theaters, live performance theaters, con- cert halls and venues, stadiums, arenas, gaming facilities, theme parks, and festivals; bowling alleys and arcades; personal groom- ing establishments (barbers, hair salons, nail salons); massage or body art establish- ments; indoor and outdoor playgrounds for children, except those located within a childcare center; Community Centers, including public pools, and pools, hot tubs, and saunas that are in a multi-unit residence or part of a Homeowners’ Association; indoor and outdoor flea markets and swap meets; indoor museums, indoor or outdoor children museums, gallery spaces, zoos, and libraries; and indoor malls and indoor shopping centers, including all stores and vendors located in such malls and indoor shopping centers. 

On a positive note, renowned gardens a short distance away from the City are in their late springtime splendor. Descanso Gardens in La Cañada Flintridge has reopened. Tickets must be purchased in advance. The L.A. Arboretum in Arcadia is open, but reservations are required. 

Also open this weekend is the Los Angeles National Cemetery on Sepulveda Boulevard in West Los Angeles. Missing this year are the thousands of American flags adorning every headstone, poignantly flapping in the wind. They too, have fallen victim to COVID-19 precautions. But, there is no rule against going out of your way to thank those who serve. This Memorial Day Weekend in Beverly Hills, their ranks are particularly high. 

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