OB Walkabout: The Plague Year – One Year Ago

by on March 25, 2021 · 17 comments

in Health, History, Ocean Beach

Desolation: Brighton Avenue looking south.

Originally posted March 26, 2020

Editordude: We originally posted the following pictografs one year ago. The beginning of the Plague Year in Ocean Beach, captured by Joaquin Antique.

by Joaquin Antique

In years past, the OB Rag‘s Walkabout series has tried to provide humorous and enlightening photo essays that capture the beauty and weirdness of Ocean Beach. On occasion it’s even been successful.

During the past week this reporter has walked the mean streets of Ocean Beach in search of elusive necessities such as hand sanitizer, rice, and prescription meds. In the process, a few photos have been taken that show some of our town’s varied responses to this horrible situation that has impacted every aspect of life in our community.

Just a few days ago surfers caught some waves while maintaining social distancing.

Now all the beach parking lots are closed, the sand and surf are forbidden zones and, according to one of the parking officers policing the entrance to the Dog Beach lot, $1000 tickets will start being issued today, Thursday March 26.

The pier and its parking lot are closed for who knows how long. The only parking laws being enforced (besides lot closures) are in red zones and disabled parking places. Specified time (ie. “2 Hour Parking”) and street sweeping regulations will not be enforced at the present time.

One local’s opinion.

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor Covid-19…

Here’s the new normal:  No line at Roberto’s at lunch time. Current hours are 6 AM to midnight.

Robb Field and the San Diego River Bikeway are closed, too.

Tree trimming and some construction work continues around our town.

Friends of the Library book sale is postponed as the library is closed.

This “essential business” remains open.

The infectious disease experts at The Black mimic Fox News talking points with their window display.

Ocean Beach Business Center is open from 11 to 5.  Spoke with Chris the owner who says they can do copy and printing jobs but are prioritizing shipping. They’re helping OBceans send care packages, meds, and other items to family and friends.

Social distancing is maintained with chalked lines at OB People’s Food.

Further down Voltaire, Kip the Sign Painter gets topical.

Sidewalk trash or an altar? Two means of seeking solace in these troubled times.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie March 26, 2020 at 11:16 am

Thanks Joaquin for reminding us that postal workers are also on the front lines of this thing. And the tree trimmer? Really “essential”.


Peter from South O March 26, 2020 at 11:38 am

I am willing to forgo haircuts, but not tree trimming. Fronds kill.


Frank Gormlie March 27, 2020 at 1:09 pm

I used to cut my own hair.


Geoff Page March 27, 2020 at 1:17 pm

You mean you used to cut your hair, which hasn’t happened in some time by you or anyone else. Maybe this will bring back the 60s styles!


Joaquin Antique March 26, 2020 at 12:40 pm

Hey Frank, I don’t see any big problems with tree trimming. It’s not an activity that exposes customers or workers to the virus (as long as they maintain a distance from each other) and it keeps some people working. Thanks for keeping the OB RAG up and running!


Frank Gormlie March 27, 2020 at 1:08 pm

Palm trimming in the Spring threatens OB’s parrots who have enough problems social distancing. I have a personal bias, unlike some friends I know, against overly-zealous tree trimming especially by Ajax.


Anna Daniels March 26, 2020 at 11:41 am

Wonderful photos Juaquín, more restorative than you probably imagined.
For those of us who don’t live close to the beach, the photo from Brighton Ave looking south was anything but filled with desolation. That open vista! The impulse to take a deep gulp of fresh air and give oneself up to the beauty of sky and water.
I am lucky to be able to look out my inner city window at a diminutive jungle of flowering vines and lush spring growth and walk through my back yard garden where the sky is crisscrossed with wires. It doesn’t feel constricted until I am reminded by your photo of the emotional benefits of a vista too.
A long winded way to say thank you.


Frank Gormlie March 27, 2020 at 1:09 pm

What she said.


Geoff Page March 26, 2020 at 4:00 pm

I went for a run last night through all of the “forbidden” territory, Robb Field, the bike path, Dog Beach, across the sand, past the lifeguard tower, under the pier, and out to the old saltwater pool. And back. I was all alone. What struck me was the stupidity of closing down all of that open space forcing runners and others to go onto sidewalks and streets closer together. Why not open all of the space to let people get outside and have the room to “social” distance? Why not have the police simply target groups of people who are clearly not complying instead of prohibiting people who are being responsible while outdoors? Make it very clear that, if caught in a group of people who are ignoring the distance requirement, hefty fines will result? Let responsible people use the outdoors responsibly. Huge parks like Robb Field and Cleator park allow people to make space among themselves, so let them. This cordoning off of the outdoors is simply idiotic.


GML March 27, 2020 at 12:05 pm

Geoff, I would be completely on your side if you could count on people to do the right thing. Unfortunately that is far from the case.


Geoff Page March 27, 2020 at 1:10 pm

My point is, GML, that an old fart like me running alone and no where near another person should not have to be concerned about a fine. This is another case of using a sledge hammer to kill a fly. I’ve been to a few places in the last few days, that I won’t name, and that is exactly how I’ve seen people behaving, keeping their distance, walking their dogs, a dad and a kid playing catch alone. People like this should not have to worry. People gathering in groups and clearly making no attempt to keep a safe distance should be the ones hit with the hammer.


Carl Zanolli March 26, 2020 at 7:06 pm

Thanks for confirming what I already knew which is The Black is full of idiots


Tyler March 27, 2020 at 8:22 am

My thoughts exactly, but I’ve already had that conclusion since their anti-Semitic tropes years back.


Frank Gormlie March 27, 2020 at 8:50 am

Tyler – I also dislike the Black – for different reasons – could you give more details (other than them displaying the confederate flag in the window years ago)?


Kate Bell March 26, 2020 at 7:50 pm

We were given the opportunity to demonstrate social distancing but the warmer weather brought people out in droves and many were not following those rules. I can see the other side and the importance of all these practices. Now all we can do is walk through our neighborhoods and practice strict distancing to make this work. Unless you don’t believe in science like “you-know-who”.


thequeenisalizard March 28, 2020 at 10:33 am

Understand this is about making sure the hospitals don’t run out of beds, and places to isolate those who test positive, not about you as individuals. And The Black deserves to be boycotted now, and after this all concludes. All the shit they sell can be purchased on-line for less money.


Dave March 28, 2020 at 12:09 pm

Thank You OB Rag!… This was the most recent news for the search “Ocean Beach Dog Beach”… poor pup is now also impacted by COVID-19!

Geoff, I agree that is A LOT of open space that we could share maintaining distance. But, as GML (and the sign in front of The Black) points out, people do not do the right thing! I did like the sledge hammer to kill a fly analogy though!

Thank Again for the news about Dog Beach!


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