ORANGE COUNTY (CBSLA) — Summer-like temperatures in Southern California brought out tens of thousands of people to Orange County beaches over the weekend.
Beach parking was closed to help encourage people to stay at home as much as possible even with officials easing some restrictions in Orange County.
Gov. Gavin Newsom was not pleased with the number of people who showed up, saying it could extend the statewide Stay-At-Home order for weeks.
“I cannot impress upon you more to those Californians watching that we can’t see the images like we saw particularly on Saturday in Newport Beach and elsewhere,” Newsom said.
In Los Angeles County, where tighter guidelines remain in place, there was a much different scene as the virus continues to spread.
Coronavirus-related deaths in L.A. County doubled in just one week and its residents are being thanked for adhering to orders to stay at home.
“My compliments to our community for staying away from the beaches in LA,” Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore said on Twitter on Saturday. “From Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice, to Dockweiler – All Clear!! Safer at Home will get us there sooner.”
My compliments to our community for staying away from the beaches in LA. From Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice, to Dockweiler – All Clear!! Safer at Home will get us there sooner. pic.twitter.com/wZeJ8G8pDR
— Chief Michel Moore (@LAPDChiefMoore) April 25, 2020
Beaches in San Diego and Ventura were also closed, which brought out even larger crowds than expected to Newport and Huntington Beaches.
“It was a mess,” one resident said. “It was out of control, way too many people all on top of each other.”
Considering last weekend’s crowds, Newport Beach officials said they will vote on Tuesday about whether beaches will stay open over the next few weeks.
“There are more cases all the time in Orange County and in Newport,” said Newport Beach resident Leanne Colton. “It’s very irresponsible to keep the beaches open.”
Huntington Beach Battalion Chief Eric McCoy says if they have any more visitors next weekend, beachgoers won’t have room to practice physical distance, which health experts have continued to stay is critical to help prevent more infections.
McCoy says Huntington Beach is carefully watching what Newport Beach decides to do because of how it could affect their crowds.
“I think a big part of our decision lies in what happens in Newport Beach tomorrow,” he said. “If they decide to close their beach then we’re going to have some really significant decisions to make this week because I don’t think we could handle the influx of people that were at Newport coming to our beach this weekend.”
A supermajority, requiring five of the seven city councilmembers to vote in favor of the ordinance, is needed to close the beaches down in Newport Beach.