Newsom Says Only Orange County Beaches Will Close

Saturday, 02 May, 2020

Newport Beach in Orange County saw about 90,000 beachgoers last weekend despite the urging of officials to follow the state's stay-home order.

The reports were based on a memo that supposedly had been sent from the governor's office to local police chiefs, but Newsom said he had not sent or seen such a document. Sheriff signals strong opposition to anticipated beach closure announcement 707-441-5000; covidinfo@co.humboldt.ca.us; Monday-Friday 8am to 7pm; Saturday 10am to 5pm Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal announced this morning firm opposition to an anticipated announcement by Governor Gavin Newsom that would close all beaches in California.

May is one of the finest times of year in California, but Governor Gavin Newsom is scolding Southern California in particular for overcrowding its beaches - particularly in Orange County - last weekend.

Parents walked hand-in-hand with children to the now-closed beach, while protesters, some bringing their dogs, arrived on bikes, skateboards and scooters.

Dana Point city attorney Partick Muñoz said in the council meeting that the motion for a restraining order will be filed Friday. "Let's not see that happen".

The raucous protest included people carrying banners that read "All Jobs are essential" and "Freedom: We the people".

Officials emphasized that the county's existing Shelter-in-Place Order would remain in full effect, and any crowding of parking areas, beach areas or trails would not be tolerated.

In the memo leaked by Fox11, Newsom said that he was concerned that California had the fourth highest number of hospitalized patients due to coronavirus.

Some of the state beaches and parks in the Bay Area include Pacifica, Half Moon Bay and San Gregorio state beaches and Mount Tamalpais, Samuel P. Taylor and Mount Diablo state parks.

Elsewhere in the state, Newsom is allowing local officials to make decisions on the status of beaches and parks. Ironically, despite the beach order, California is among them.

He said he hoped it would be "a very short-term adjustment", although the directive had no termination date.

"We're going to have a temporary pause on state and local beaches down there", Newsom said, alluding to the scenes of beachgoers at Newport Beach and Huntington Beach last weekend. "People that are congregating there, that weren't practicing physical distancing, that may go back to their community outside of Orange County and may not even know that they contracted the disease and now they put other people at risk, put our hospital system at risk". "Given that Orange County has among the lowest per-capita COVID-19 death rates in California, the action by the State prioritizes politics over data, in direct contradiction of the Governor's stated goal to allow science and facts to guide our response to this terrible global pandemic". In his daily coronavirus press briefing, he said the "hard close" would only apply to Orange County.

"It's time to move on", Huntington Beach resident Jim Puro, 59, said Thursday. The county may revert to abiding by the stay-at-home order if two or more cases are confirmed, health care facilities become overwhelmed or the death rate increases substantially. Newsom scolded people for defying the spirit of his statewide stay-at-home order, created to slow the spread of the coronavirus that has killed some 2,000 people in the state.

In addition to state parks and beaches, California has parks and beaches owned and managed by cities, counties, regional districts and the USA government.