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Newport Beach
Photograph: Courtesy Unsplash/Herson Rodriguez

Thanks, Orange County. Now more beaches in California are closing.

Michael Juliano

We’ve been here before: When the first weekend of L.A.’s “safer at home” order coincided with the first bit of sunshine after days of rain, Angelenos flocked to Runyon Canyon. So what happened? Runyon was shut down, as were nearly all trailheads in the county. And now, after an estimated 40,000 people flocked to Newport Beach over SoCal’s first summer-weather–like weekend, we’re set to see a similar move.

Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to announce on Friday that all beaches and state parks in California will be closed starting May 1. Multiple outlets have credited the forthcoming order to a California Police Chiefs Association memo, first surfaced by Santa Cruz Waves. Newsom has yet to publicly comment, however he did admonish beachgoers over their violation of the statewide stay-at-home order earlier in the week.

This actually shouldn’t affect Angelenos much at all: All beaches in L.A. County have been closed since late March, and area state parks soon followed (starting with parking lot closures, and then full park closures). But this could certainly hamper L.A. residents who were violating the local stay-at-home orders and venturing into Ventura and Orange Counties, where the beaches have remained open.

UPDATE: In his Thursday address, Newsom announced a hard closure for state and local beaches in Orange County only—not statewide as was previously expected. “Specific issues on some of those beaches have raised alarm bells,” he said. On the other hand, he praised Los Angeles at the county and city level for its leadership on keeping activity down at beaches.

Newsom also sought to provide more info about what outdoor activities are permitted. “There’s a real need and desire to have more points of access—and ultimately more points of clarification,” he also said. And so the state has made two dozen additions to its stay-at-home policy in regards to protocols around hiking, golfing, horseback riding and tennis, all of which are allowed with modifications.

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