Memo sent to local law enforcement announcing closures
By Sam Catanzaro
California Governor Gavin Newsom will close all beaches and state parks in the state starting Friday to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), saying beaches were overcrowded last weekend.
According to a memo obtained by CBS Los Angeles, all beaches and state parks in California will be closed, effective Friday.
“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 that ALL beaches and state parks in California will be closed, effective Friday, May 1st,” reads the memo sent to all California police chiefs. “We wanted to give all our members a heads up about this order to provide time for you to plan for any situations you might expect as a result, knowing each community has its own dynamics.”
According to the memo, State Parks personnel be present to help support local law enforcement uphold the closures.
The move comes days after Newsom called out the large crowds that gathered at Newport Beach in Orange County during a heatwave, as many beaches in Orange County and Ventura County were recently reopened.
Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner called the expected order an “overreaction” in a statement.
“I believe Governor Newsom has the power to close Orange County beaches. However, it is not wise to do so. Medical professionals tell us the importance of fresh air and sunlight in fighting infectious diseases, including mental health benefits,” Wagner said. “I fear this overreaction from the state will undermine that cooperative attribute and our collective efforts to fight the disease.”
Los Angeles City Councilmember Mike Bonin, however, supported the closures.
“The beaches remaining closed is difficult and uncomfortable for millions of Californians, but public officials need to make decisions based on public health considerations. While I am eager to take my son back to the beach as soon as possible, I support Governor Newsom doing what he feels is necessary to follow public health advice,” Bonin said.
Beaches in Los Angeles County, where there are over 22,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and over 1,000 deaths, remain closed through May 15 under a separate county order.