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Escape to Catalina? No, it's closed up tight

Escape to Catalina? No, it's closed up tight

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Avalon, Calif., on Catalina Island, a popular tourist destination, is closed to visitors amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Avalon, Calif., on Catalina Island, a popular tourist destination, is closed to visitors amid the coronavirus pandemic. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

LOS ANGELES - If you think Catalina Island - 22 miles from the mainland, barely 4,000 residents - might be a good place to ride out the pandemic, think again.

"Catalina Island is closed to visitors," the Catalina Chamber of Commerce website said Friday. "Essential services are open. Hiking trails temporarily closed due to rain."

The island's coronavirus-fighting measures are unprecedented for a destination that draws its economic lifeblood from tourism, and they are thorough.

"For the first time in 33 years, we have gone truly silent," tweeted the Catalina Island Museum on Thursday, announcing the cancellation of its Avalon Silent Film Showcase, which had been scheduled for May 15-17.

The Catalina Express, which runs boats to the island's Avalon and Two Harbors landings from Long Beach, San Pedro and Dana Point, has cut back its service to two round trips a day between Long Beach and Avalon.

At the Catalina Flyer, which offers one departure daily from Newport Beach to Avalon, a phone recording said Friday that the company has suspended service until further notice.

The Catalina Island Conservancy has closed its visitor facilities and suspended services. Hiking trails in and near Avalon remain open for day hikes "as a means of safe exercise," the conservancy website said, but biking in the wildlands is limited to current permit holders.

One consolation for anyone pining for a view of the island: There's a webcam at

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