During his daily coronavirus update, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the temporary closure of all state and local beaches in Orange County to prevent gatherings in violation of social-distancing orders, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"My job as governor is to keep you safe," he said Thursday, as he announced the targeted closures. "We don’t want to have beaches with tens of thousands of people mixing."
"We’re going to have a temporary pause on beaches down there," he added. "I hope it’s a very short-term adjustment."
Beaches will not be closed statewide, despite a bulletin sent to all California police chiefs late Wednesday evening.
“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 to police chiefs said.
“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.”
Newsom disavowed the memo during Thursday's press briefing, saying it never made it to him.
The governor also announced that at least 200 state parks will remain open across the state as officials continue to encourage activities such as hiking, horseback riding, playing tennis and other activities so long as residents practice social distancing. New guidance have been put out by the governor's office about open space and outdoor activities have been published on the official state website.
Last week, more than 40,000 people stormed the beaches in Orange County after options for beachgoers were limited following Los Angeles county and San Diego county closing their beaches over the weekend. Beaches in Los Angeles County will remain closed through the weekend, the Los Angeles Police Department said on Twitter Thursday, reminding residents that Mayor Eric Garcetti's 'Safer-at-Home' order remains in effect.
During his daily coronavirus briefing on Monday, Newsom criticized the crowds, warning that large gatherings of people like the one we saw at the beach last weekend, would slow the state's efforts to reopen businesses or relax statewide stay-at-home orders.
“Those images are an example of what not to see ... what not to do if we're going to make the meaningful progress that we've made in the last few weeks extend into the next number of weeks,” Newsom said Monday.
“The reality is we are just a few weeks away, not months away, from making measurable and meaningful changes to our stay-at-home order.
“That is a very optimistic point to emphasize, however, that's driven by data. That's driven by behavior. And as we change our behavior we can impact the science, the health and the data. This virus doesn't take the weekends off. This virus doesn't go home because it's a beautiful sunny day around our coasts.”
On Thursday, Orange County reported another COVID-19-related death, bringing the county's death toll due to the coronavirus to 45. Another 145 cases were also reported this afternoon, bringing the countywide total to 2,393.
The Newport Beach City Council rejected an emergency motion on Tuesday in a 5-2 vote to close the city's beaches for the next three weekends.
The order to close the beaches and state parks will go into effect Friday, May 1, 2020. There was no indication on how long the order temporarily closing beaches and state parks would last.
Photo: Getty Images