On the first warm weekend of spring, the beach in Santa Monica was deserted — an apocalyptic emptiness unimaginable just a few months ago.
Down the coast in Huntington Beach, the novel coronavirus pandemic seemed far away. Colorful umbrellas and bikini-clad sunbathers dotted the sand.
As temperatures soared into the upper 80s in some parts of the region on Saturday, crossing county lines was like entering different worlds. Some beaches in Orange and Ventura counties were open, even though scores of Southern Californians were dying of COVID-19 every day.
Despite orders from state and local officials to stay home except for necessary errands and to exercise in one’s own neighborhood, people flocked to the beaches.
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