California Governor Gavin Newsom’s administration has approved plans to reopen Orange County beaches after he shut them down last week to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Two cities had threatened lawsuits against the Governor, and a number of protests were held at beaches against the order.
Gov Newsom has agreed on a compromise with cities, working towards a gradual reopening. In Laguna City, phase one will allow people to visit the beach between 6 am and 10 am Monday to Friday for “active use” only. This means they can walk, jog, swim, and surf, but not congregate or sunbathe.
Dana Point, Huntington Beach, San Clemente, and Seal Beach also submitted plans that were approved this week, to include a range of measures to avoid overcrowding and allow safe physical distancing, according to the California Natural Resources Agency. People are now permitted to use Huntington Beach from 5 am to 10 pm as long as they remain active, and Seal Beach’s coastline will be open from Monday, for limited hours, through Thursday.
“We’re delighted to be reopening our beaches for active recreation, which will allow our community to once again enjoy the recreational and mental health benefits from spending time in the Pacific Ocean. The new active recreation rules that we’re instituting will allow for continued beach access in a manner that emphasizes the need to practice safe social distancing.”
– Huntington Beach Mayor Lyn Semeta
The order to close the beaches came on May 1st following a weekend in which tens of thousands of people descended on Newport Beach in Orange County, south of Los Angeles, and beaches in Ventura County, north of LA. Newsom called this an example of “what not to do” if the state wants to continue its progress fighting the coronavirus. While many beaches and trails throughout the state had been closed for weeks, others had remained open with warnings for visitors to practice social distancing.
California Governor Gavin Newsom announced Monday that certain ‘low-risk’ businesses can look forward to reopening later this week, as the state looks to relax its safe-at-home mandates and enter phase two of its COVID-19 recovery plan. In a previous statement last week, he had said that businesses reopening was ‘weeks away’. Bookstores, clothing stores, florists, and sporting goods stores all fall into this category that can open.
California has had 58,815 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 2,412 deaths.