City officials in Orange County will meet Tuesday to consider closing some beaches after crowds of people flocked to the shoreline during last weekend’s heat wave.
An estimated 40,000 people packed Newport Beach on Friday and Saturday, making national headlines and upsetting California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
“We can’t see the images like we saw, particularly on Saturday in Newport Beach and elsewhere in the state of California,” Newsom said Monday.
He was encouraged that city officials planned to meet and address the issue. “I’m told they are looking to consider some augmentations,” he said.
The Newport Beach City Council will meet at 3 p.m. Tuesday to discuss potentially closing the beach for the next three weekends or blocking roads leading to popular locations along the shore.
The beach was under what was described as a soft closure when the crowds arrived Friday.
Beach parking lots were closed, but that led to beachgoers parking in residential neighborhoods and congesting the streets for local residents.
Still, Orange County officials said beachgoers did their best to keep safe.
“From what I could tell, all of the individuals that are along the sand, they were placing their umbrellas and they were congregating within their own family unit,” Orange County Executive Officer Frank Kim told CNN. “What I saw was an effort from all of the participants who were using the amenities to adhere to the principle of social distancing.”
Huntington Beach, which had a similar soft closure, also drew thousands of beachgoers amid the weekend heat wave.
In Ventura County, where beachgoers were allowed to walk on the beach but not to congregate in large groups or picnic on the beach, crowds were much smaller.
City officials in San Clemente, which had similar rules to those in Ventura County over the weekend, plan to meet Tuesday to discuss the potential for reopening its beach lots and the pier.
The Laguna Beach City Council is also meeting Tuesday to discuss their situation, and to look at the impact of crowds at neighboring Newport Beach and Huntington Beach.
Newsom is expected to provide further details on his plans for eventually reopening the state during a news conference Tuesday.