California Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to close the state’s beaches and parks on Friday, after tens of thousands of people flooded the shores of Orange and Ventura counties last weekend — with some not wearing masks and ignoring social distancing guidelines.
On Wednesday, Fox 11 in Los Angeles obtained a copy of a bulletin to the state’s police chiefs advising them of the impending closure.
“After the well-publicized media coverage of overcrowded beaches this past weekend, in violation of Governor Newsom’s Shelter in Place Order, the Governor will be announcing tomorrow that ALL beaches and all state parks in California will be closed, effective Friday, May 1st,” the bulletin states.
CNN reports: Orange County and Ventura County beaches were packed as visitors looked for relief from a heat wave. 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. … Though authorities in those counties reported that beachgoers largely observed social distancing rules, Newsom chastised beachgoers and warned that defying the state’s stay at home order could delay its reopening. “This virus doesn’t take the weekends off. This virus doesn’t go home. We have to manage and augment our behavior,” Newsom said Monday. “The only thing that will set us back is people stopping practicing physical distancing.”
Orange County Supervisor Donald Wagner issued a statement criticizing Newsom’s expected announcement.
“I believe Governor Newsom has the power to close Orange County beaches,” Wagner said. “However, it is not wise to do so. Medical professionals tell us the importance of fresh air and sunlight in fighting infectious diseases, including mental health benefits. Moreover, Orange County citizens have been cooperative with California state and county restrictions thus far. I fear that this overreaction from the state will undermine that cooperative attitude and our collective efforts to fight the disease, based on the best available medical information.”
As of Wednesday, California had recorded 46,500 cases of the novel coronavirus, with 1,887 deaths, according to the state’s health department.