Tens of thousands of people flooded beaches in Southern California over the weekend as the first major heatwave of the year strikes, even as Gov. Gavin Newsom pleaded with everyone to stay home to flatten the pandemic curve.
Newsom tweeted Friday: “It’s going to be nice outside this weekend. You might be feeling cooped up. Ready for life to go back to “normal.” But can’t stress this enough: CA can only keep flattening the curve if we stay home and practice physical distancing. You have the power to literally save lives.”
It’s going to be nice outside this weekend. You might be feeling cooped up. Ready for life to go back to “normal.”
But can’t stress this enough:
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 (@GavinNewsom) April 24, 2020
Photos and videos emerged on social media over the weekend showing Huntington Beach and Newport Beach packed with thousands of people, many of whom were ignoring social distancing rules. AP News reported at least 40,000 people visited Newport Beach on Friday alone.
Today in Newport Beach. Wow.
— Liz Kreutz (@ABCLiz) April 26, 2020
— NBC Los Angeles (@NBCLA) April 25, 2020
— Chris Cristi (@abc7chriscristi) April 24, 2020
The influx of beachgoers comes at a time when beaches remained closed in Los Angeles and San Diego counties. Mandatory stay-at-home orders have been in place since March 19.
Orange Country reopened its beaches with no access to parking lots and piers amid the influx of tourists rushing to resort towns. Ventura County, about 70 miles north of Los Angeles, recently reopened beaches with no access to parking lots.
Brian O’Rourke, a lifeguard chief at Newport Beach, told NBC News the beach was extremely crowded this weekend.
“We haven’t had too many issues with [social distancing] as lifeguards. Our primary mission is watching the water. We’ve had dozens of ocean rescues and hundreds of preventative actions.”
According to a tweet from the Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore, Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice, and Dockweiler beaches were absent of people on Saturday as police enforced strict closure rules.
My compliments to our community for staying away from the beaches in LA. From Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice, to Dockweiler – All Clear!! Safer at Home will get us there sooner. pic.twitter.com/wZeJ8G8pDR
— Chief Michel Moore (@LAPDChiefMoore) April 25, 2020
San Diego County officials said beaches would reopen Monday to swimming, surfing, paddleboarding, and kayaking. Strict social distancing rules will be enforced, which means no sitting or lying down on the beach.
All other beaches operated by the state will remain closed.
Newsom has yet to issue any plan on reopening the state’s economy and or lifting lockdown measures.
We noted not too long ago that resort towns in Italy could implement “plexiglass cages” on the beaches to enforce social distancing.
Californians are fed up with Newsom’s plea to stay during the pandemic as the season’s first heatwave strikes. Could this be the makings of the second coronavirus wave?