Park Ambassadors To Enforce Distancing Guidelines For Busy Lake Merritt

Lakegoers will see more signs warning of possible fines if they violate distancing orders at Lake Merritt.
Photo credit Matt Bigler/KCBS Radio

Oakland residents are being asked to "give the lake a break."

The city’s crackdown on parties and food vendors at parks is getting mixed reaction, some positive and some critical.

Oakland officials have said Lake Merritt is not a mask-free zone, although it may seem like that at times.

"It’s kind of frustrating, because it seems like people aren’t taking it seriously," Sean Moses told KCBS Radio.

Moses said he's tried talking to people about social distancing.

"I’ve done the old man thing like shake a fist, like 'You guys need to go home and just wear a mask,'" Moses said. "How do you corral all these people that are out?"

"We believe in the power of the blood of Jesus Christ is more powerful than any COVID-19, okay, I believe that will all my heart," the man explained.

A release on the city's website said they still "encourage walkers, joggers, and cyclists to get outdoors for fresh air and exercise, which is important to our health, but in keeping with the county order to stop the spread of COVID-19, we are discouraging gatherings and crowds in our parks."

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf wrote that "parks have become overcrowded on weekends, and for our collective health, we need to give the Lake - and our City parks - a break! We hope that the presence of our new Park Ambassadors will help to remind, educate, and engage the Oakland community around the Alameda County’s Shelter-in-Place Order. We appreciate Oakland’s continued adherence to the order. Together we can stay healthy and beat COVID-19."

To encourage physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic & reduce crowding in City parks, per the @Dare2BWell Order, starting Friday, May 15 through May 31, no vending—including food trucks—will be allowed in or adjacent to City parks. Full info:

— City of Oakland (@Oakland) May 15, 2020

The new measures go into effect Friday, May 15 and continue through May 31.