Governor Newsom Only Closes Orange County Beaches
Leadbetter Beach packed with people on April 25, 2020 (Photo: Baron Erik Spafford / edhat)
Governor Gavin Newsom announced only the beaches in Orange County will close due to the COVID-19 pandemic during a press conference Thursday afternoon.
Newsom stated the decision to make a hard closure of Orange County beaches was largely due to photos and reports of crowds throughout the county last weekend.
Santa Barbara County beaches are expected to remain open this weekend as officials continue to urge people to socially distance and not to congregate in crowds.
Newsom clarified the memo by the California Police Chief's Association was not written by the Governor's office and he never stated all California beaches were to be closed. He continued by saying he's a beach advocate and has worked to keep all the beaches open, even giving a shout out to signing a bill to open Hollister Ranch beach in Gaviota.
While Newsom praised other counties for their concerted efforts to distance at the beach, he stated this effort is a targeted approach to address concerns in specific communities.
"We’re going to have a temporary pause on the beaches [in Orange County]," he said. "If we can get some framework and guidelines to get this right, we can open very quickly. We got to make sure we get this right."
Governor Expected to Close California Beaches
Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to close all California beaches and state parks starting Friday due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The news was leaked from a memo written by the California Police Chief's Association to all law enforcement agencies giving them time to prepare for the order.
"We wanted to give all of our members a heads up about this in order to provide time for you to plan for any situations you might expect as a result, knowing each community has its own dynamics,” the memo states.
The closure is expected to be in response to numerous reports, videos, and photos depicting hundreds and sometimes thousands of people on California beaches this past weekend.
Images from Orange and Ventura counties were shown throughout the state of crowded beaches. Newsom commented on such images earlier this week, warning these acts could delay re-opening the state.
“This virus doesn’t take the weekends off. This virus doesn’t go home. We have to manage and augment our behavior,” he said. “The only thing that will set us back is people stopping practicing physical distancing.”
Edhat readers shared photos of people on Leadbetter Beach while other reports stated an overflow at Hendry's Beach.
Santa Barbara County Supervisor Gregg Hart made it clear in past press conferences that the county will follow the Governor's orders.
Newsom is expected to officially make the beach and park closure announcement on Thursday.