A memo sent to Californian police chiefs reveals that California Governor Gavin Newsom will announce today that he will order all beaches and state parks closed starting Friday, May 1st after people flocked to beaches during the weekend heatwave despite his social distancing order.
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 today that ALL beaches and all state parks in California will be closed, effective Friday, May 1st.
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 League of Cities and CSAC leadership have also been informed. State Parks personnel will be out in to help support local efforts as well. Our legal counsel, Jim Touchstone, sent out a Legal Alert about the Governor’s order a few weeks back that outlined the Government and Health and Safety codes that apply to law enforcement’s ability to enforce and site those who try and defy the orders.
– Gov. Gavin Newsom
The order follows 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 have been closed for weeks, others have remained open with warnings for visitors to practice social distancing and more have reopened.
In response to the proposed closure, Orange County Supervisor Donald Wagner said it was not a wise step.
“Medical professionals tell us the importance of fresh air and sunlight in fighting infectious disease, including mental health benefits.”
– OC Supervisor Donald Wagner
While many states have begun to relax stay-at-home measures and are reopening recreation areas and smaller businesses, Newsom reiterated Wednesday it would be weeks before he makes the first significant modification to the state order.
California has seen 46,500 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 1,887 deaths.