Heatwave Draws Over 50,000 People to Californian Beaches Despite Stay-at-Home Measures

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Newport Beach, California, beaches
A crowded Newport Beach, CA. Credit: Sky News

A heatwave encouraged an estimated 50,000 people to descend on beaches in California, despite stay-at-home and social distancing measures still being in place. 

Thousands flocked to Newport Beach and Huntington Beach on Friday and Saturday. Police in Pacific Grove closed the Lovers Point Park and Beach due to overcrowding and people ignoring restrictions. In San Diego, three people were arrested in Encinitas for violating health orders after they protested against beach closures.

“It’s hot out, and we’re seeing the crowds increase, doubling every day. Yesterday we had about 20,000 people. Today I would expect almost double that.”

– Newport Beach Lifeguard Battalion Chief Brian O’Rourke on Saturday

In anticipation of the heatwave, Governor Gavin Newsom had acknowledged many Californians would be tempted to gather outside.

“CA can only keep flattening the curve if we stay home and practice physical distancing. You have the power to literally save lives.”

– Gavin Newsom Tweet

Newport Beach, california
Newport Beach, CA

Los Angeles city and county beaches, trails, and playgrounds were closed, with officers on horseback patrolling the areas to enforce distancing rules. Orange County is the only county in the area where beaches remain open, with neighboring counties shutting down their public spaces. Governor Newsom temporarily closed some of the state’s parks and beaches to the public and closed vehicle access at all 280 state parks.

California has seen 42,164 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and 1,710 deaths.

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