Point Isabel dog park will be closed from April 2 at 7 a.m. until further notice. Photo: Swedg

Update, June 9: As of Monday, June 8, Point Isabel Regional Shoreline is once again allowing dogs to have off-leash access at the park. Park visitors must still follow social distancing protocols, and keep dogs on leash at Mudpuppy’s and Sit and Stay Café

Update, June 3: Point Isabel Regional Shoreline reopened June 1 after being closed April 2 to comply with the shelter-in-place order. As with at all East Bay Regional Park District parks during lockdown, dogs must remain on-leash and people must follow social distancing protocols. Some features and areas at Point Isabel are currently turned off or closed, such as drinking fountains and hoses, some parking spaces and some bathrooms, but poop bag dispensers have been refilled and trash is being collected. Mudpuppy’s and the Sit and Stay Café will reopen June 4 for takeout and dog-wash appointments, respectively.

Original story, April 1: East Bay Regional Park District on Wednesday said it was closing Point Isabel Regional Shoreline, effective April 2 at 7 a.m. (Update: EBRPD spokesman Dave Mason clarified Wednesday around 5 p.m. that the park is in the process of being closed today, including putting up fencing.)

It made the decision in the wake of Monday’s extended shelter-in-place order that covers six Bay Area counties and includes additional restrictions, including dog parks.

Point Isabel, which is on the Richmond shoreline close to the Costco store, is one of the largest dog parks in the nation, according to the EBRPD news release.

The move is in line with other COVID-19-related closures in response to earlier public-health orders, including all picnic areas, restrooms, water fountains, swim facilities, playgrounds, campgrounds, campsites, sports fields, and visitor kiosks.

Point Isabel attracts significant numbers of dogs and their owners in regular times, especially on weekends. And, like all parks it has proved particularly popular during the coronavirus stay-at-home lockdown as people crave fresh air and exercise. It has a large off-leash dog walking area and several concessions catering to dogs, including Mudpuppy’s Tub & Scrub, a dog washing and dog-specific retail shop, and the Sit & Stay Café that offers food for people and pups.

“The safety of the public and our employees is our top priority during the COVID-19 health crisis,” said Park District General Manager Robert Doyle in the statement. “The joint health order needs to be followed for the safety of everyone.”

The San Francisco Bay Trail spur through Point Isabel will not be accessible during the closure. The Bay Trail along Rydin Road will be open, however, EBRPD said.

On March 24, EBRPD mandated that all dogs be kept on leash in all its parks during the coronavirus crisis to avoid unsafe crowding and minimize human-on-human interaction. The city of Berkeley closed its dog parks on the same day, including Ohlone Dog Park, the nation’s first dog park. The district has been closing park parking lots and access point in an attempt to reduce the large numbers of people who have been flocking to the parks since the coronavirus lockdown started.

“The Park District is proud to be one of the most dog-friendly organizations in the nation,” said Doyle. “However, during this health emergency, we need dog owners’ help and cooperation with this temporary request to keep dogs on leash for the protection of all park visitors.”

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Tracey Taylor is co-founder of Berkeleyside and co-founder and editorial director of Cityside, the nonprofit parent to Berkeleyside and The Oaklandside. Before launching Berkeleyside, Tracey wrote for...