Today, California Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to announce the closure of all beaches and state parks in California. This comes after last weekend's heat wave drew thousands to Newport Beach and Huntington Beach, which remained open. The Governor made it clear that he was displeased to see the images of crowded beaches. "We can't see the images like we saw, particularly on Saturday in Newport Beach and elsewhere in the state of California," Newsom said on Monday.
Because of concerns about the crowds, the Newport Beach City Council held a special meeting on Tuesday to vote on whether to temporarily close beaches in Newport for the next three weekends. After a nearly 4-hour-long meeting that included 90 minutes of public comment, the council voted 5-2 to keep the beaches open. City officials still advised people to stay close to home when getting outdoors and said they would close parking lots to limit the number of visitors and increase police and lifeguard presence to "more actively enforce social distancing directives."
Also on Tuesday, the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on a set of guidelines for businesses to follow when stay-at-home rules designed to slow the spread of COVID-19 begin to ease up. The guidelines were written with the help of an ad hoc committee of local business leaders. Saying that "Orange County has effectively flattened the curve," the supervisors added that the guidelines would not supersede any more restrictive orders from local governments, the state or the federal government. But they did create some confusion, as some took the announcement to mean that Orange County was voting to reopen.
Then during Governor Newsom's daily press conference yesterday, a reporter from Good Day L.A. asked the Governor about the guidelines that Orange County approved and then put Orange County Supervisor Donald Wagner on the line with Newsom. "The Orange County order satisfies Orange County — the sheriff will not come and ticket you — but the state orders and any local city orders remain in place," Wagner said to the governor. Newsom responded, noting that conditions are different in various parts of California: "I will say, about Orange County, it's important — the supervisor is well aware of this — Orange County is the fourth highest number of people, of all 58 counties, hospitalized in the state of California. I'm concerned about that."
We’d like to hear from you, do you think beaches should be able to remain open? Should cities and counties or the state decide? Join the conversation by calling 866-893-5722.
Donald Wagner, Orange County Supervisor, 3rd District, which includes Anaheim Hills, Irvine, Orange, Tustin, and the unincorporated canyons; former Mayor of Irvine (2016-2019); tweets @DonWagnerCA