The closure of all trails in the city of Chino Hills on Wednesday due to the coronavirus pandemic has residents divided.

The trails will be closed to pedestrians, cyclists and equestrian users until further notice.

Chino Hills Police Capt. John Walker said deputies on bicycle patrol will educate the community this weekend about the closed trails and the negative impact of not following social distancing guidelines.

City staff will also be in the field seeking voluntary compliance.

The announcement on the trails shutdown prompted hundreds of comments on social media with many residents stating it was for the good of the community and many stating that the trails were a healthy alternative for residents craving the outdoors during the stay-at-home order.

City manager Benjamin Montgomery said the decision to close the trails was not made lightly but after much deliberation. 

“Government officials at every level are predicting a surge of positive coronavirus tests in the coming weeks,” he said.

Mr. Montgomery said the surgeon general has stated that communities that have taken the strongest action on social distancing have helped to flatten the curve.

Crowded conditions on some of the trails and the public not observing the six-feet social distancing rules were factors that were considered.

Councilman Ray Marquez said he has seen the trails near the Community Park filled with people who are not spacing themselves apart. He said 40 to 50 vehicles were parked in the Community Park parking lot where the trails are accessed.

“I’m not really happy with the decision to close the trails but because of our concerns that the virus will spread, I support it,” he said.

Councilman Marquez said the city will review the decision on a weekly basis after monitoring the data in the state and region.

Mr. Marquez said residents can still walk on the decomposed granite areas between the white trail fencing along arterials such as Peyton Drive, Grand Avenue, and Butterfield Ranch Road.

The trails in the Chino Hills State Park remain open but vehicular access to the park is prohibited.

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