Los Angeles County officials on Monday announced that beaches across the county will be closed over the Fourth of July weekend as part of an effort to discourage large gatherings that could lead to the spread of the coronavirus.
Officials cited rising numbers of coronavirus infections, and Monday's single-day record 2,903 new cases of COVID-19 and warned that spiking numbers of cases could soon overwhelm area hospitals.
“Due to rising COVID-19 cases all (county) beaches will be closing again temporarily this weekend, July 3rd through 6th,'' County Supervisor Janice Hahn wrote on her Twitter page. “We had almost 3,000 reported cases just today. We cannot risk having crowds at the beach this holiday weekend.''
The beach closures were first announced by the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department's Los Hills Station, who wrote on social media that all beaches, piers, beach bike paths and beach access points will be closed Friday through Monday.
“This new order makes it illegal to trespass at these locations and is punishable by law to include, but not limited to, a $1,000 fine,'' according to the sheriff's station.
The new county health order will also close all beach parking lots over the weekend.
"Closing the beaches and prohibiting fireworks displays during this important summer holiday weekend was an incredibly difficult decision to make, but it’s the responsible decision to protect public health and protect our residents from a deadly virus. The Fourth of July holiday weekend typically means large crowds and gatherings to celebrate, a recipe for increased transmission of COVID-19," said Barbara Ferrer, Director of Public Health. "We all need to take this virus more seriously and residents and business owners must do their part. Physical distancing isn’t optional, wearing a face covering isn’t optional, spending time only with those you live with isn’t optional — these are requirements in the Health Officer Order and are the tools we have to protect each other, our families and those most vulnerable in our communities."
The announcement comes one day after California Gov. Gavin Newsom closed bars in seven California counties, including Los Angeles county, due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in the region.
Beaches were among the first places closed when safer-at-home orders were issued at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, but they were partially reopened for active uses only a few weeks later. On June 11, health officials eased orders to include more passive uses such as sunbathing.
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