SGV Tribune

Hundreds protest coronavirus stay-at-home order in San Clemente

Public health officials have said California’s quarantine order is containing the spread of the highly contagious virus.

Hundreds of people gathered in downtown San Clemente on Sunday, April 19, calling for the end of a state-mandated stay-at-home order aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus.

The protesters – tightly packed in defiance of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s social distancing guidelines – held American flags and signs with such slogans as “No Liberty, No Life, Re-open California,” and “I am an AMERICAN and I am FREE!” Most of the demonstrators did not wear masks.

As of 1:15 p.m., no arrests were reported.

Last Sunday, a former La Habra police chief organized a group of about 20 people in San Clemente to protest the stay-at-home order.

“We’ve had enough,” the organizer, Alan Hostetter, said at the time.

On Friday, scores of demonstators gathered in Huntington Beach for a similar protest.

California has seen nearly 30,000 cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, with 1,072 deaths. Thousands of people remain hospitalized, many in intensive care units, according to public health agency reports.

Thursday, April 16, was “the worst 24-hour period since this virus attacked people in the state of California,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in his Friday, April 17 briefing. “The worst number of deaths that we have experienced. That’s humbling and it should be eye-opening to people that think we’re out of the woods.”

Staff photographer Mindy Schauer contributed to this report.