California cities threaten legal action against Newsom's newest beach-closure order

Henrietta Strickland
May 6, 2020

"Specific issues on some of those beaches have raised alarm bells", Newsom said, criticizing beachgoers for possibly spreading the virus when they return to their communities outside of Orange County. He said the controversial hard close on beaches like Laguna, Newport and Huntington was necessary to prevent another weekend rush and in the interest of public health.

More easing of California's state-at-home order could be "many days, not weeks" away, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday.

Representative image of people walking along the beach. They argued - correctly - that problems in one part of the state should not punish residents who had behaved more responsibly.

Newsom said he would make an announcement about it sometime next week. "We're working with the county".

It wasn't immediately clear if these impending legal battles would also challenge the closure of state parks that aren't on the coast.

Feeling singled out, a group of local officials from across the county responded Friday by suing Newsom in state court.

In an emergency meeting, the City Council of Dana Point voted to seek a temporary restraining order blocking the beach shut-down order.

When asked about the lawsuit, the governor said he wasn't surprised by it and that "we'll see what happens". "We had all I think read the news or were aware of the fact the governor was intending to close the beaches throughout California but obviously at some point that changed. and his decision was only to close the beaches in Orange County".

California has had one of the strictest stay-at-home orders in the country in order to fight the spread of the coronavirus, and Newsom has been one of the most watched governors in the country as he has made the case for a cautious and deliberate reopening of the state's economy.

Social distancing guidelines are part of the plan, as is reduced capacity for some of the businesses, like bars and restaurants.

"When you pull back too quickly you literally put people's lives at risk", said Newsom.

"Our experience here locally has been that most people are being responsible and complying with social distancing, and given that Orange County has among the lowest per capita COVID-19 death rates in California, the state's action today seems to prioritize politics over data", Semeta said in a written statement. Located in the northeast corner of the state, the county of less than 10,000 people has tested 80 residents without confirming a positive coronavirus case.

Los Angeles County officials announced in a May 1 press briefing that there were 62 new COVID-19 deaths in the county and 1,065 new cases, bringing the county totals to 1,172 deaths and 24,215 cases. On April 30, the county saw a record-high 145 new cases, up from 32 new cases on April 28, according to that public health database.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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