Gov. Gavin Newsom bashed weekend beach-going as “what not to do” in an address Monday, criticizing photos from across the state showing Californians flocking to the coast on Saturday and Sunday.
In Newport Beach and elsewhere, Newsom said, people crowded beaches and parks — risking the state’s slow progress in stemming the spread of COVID-19 and jeopardizing future easing of the current shelter-in-place order.
In the Bay Area, Ocean Beach and Alameda Beach, as well as the East Bay Regional Parks District, reported a rash of visitors on sunny Saturday. Although he specifically referenced Southern California, Newsom said that there was “movement all across the state.”
“Those images are an example of what not to see — what not to do, if we’re going to make the meaningful progress that we’ve made over the last few weeks extend,” Newsom said.
A lack of social distancing in public spaces could edge up the virus’ reach, Newsom said, even as it has showed some signs of slowing down. Although confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths climbed over the weekend, data from the state Department of Public Health shows that the number of new cases reported daily has declined since April 20, when a high of 2,283 new cases were reported.
The state also reported a decline in the percentage of COVID-19 patients in intensive-care units. As of Sunday, there were 1,184 patients occupying ICU beds, representing 35.1% of all patients, as compared to 36.3% on April 20. Just one patient was added to the ICU as of Monday, Newsom said.
Upticks in the rate of new infections and hospitalizations would prevent the state from making “meaningful modifications” to the shelter-in-place order within the next few weeks, Newsom said.
The governor also urged local jurisdictions to consider new ways to enforce the orders without being too punitive. He suggested extending parking restrictions surrounding beaches and parks beyond formal parking areas.
“The worst thing we can do is rest on our laurels, decide that the virus has decided to take a break and go on vacation,” Newsom said, adding, “Nothing’s changed. The only thing that’s changed is our behavior for the better, and that mitigated the spread.”
Martha Ross contributed to this report.