Orange County Beaches Shut Down, But Legal Battle Still Making Waves

3 min


Orange County Beaches Shut Down, But Legal Battle Still Making Waves 1

In Newport Beach the beaches were practically empty this weekend. Last weekend, thousands gathered on Orange County beaches, prompting Calif. Gov. Newsom to implement a beach shutdown in Orange County. Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP hide caption

toggle caption

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

In Newport Beach the beaches were practically empty this weekend. Last weekend, thousands gathered on Orange County beaches, prompting Calif. Gov. Newsom to implement a beach shutdown in Orange County.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP

Two Orange County cities’ attempt to legally challenge Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s beach shutdown order failed for now, but the battle between local and state officials over the shoreline will continue.

Advertisements

Huntington Beach, Dana Point and various local private businesses in Orange County requested a temporary restraining order in Orange County Superior Court on Friday that would have blocked Newsom’s executive beach closure order and kept beaches open in those cities.

Orange County plaintiffs argued the beach shutdown infringed on “their constitutionally protected right and authority to make their own decisions regarding the status of their beaches.”

But Orange County Superior Court Judge Nathan Scott rejected the injunction and beaches spanning the Orange County coastline were closed over the weekend and will continue to be. A hearing is scheduled for May 11.

Over the weekend the Newport Beach city council voted to support the lawsuit, but will not join as a plantiff.

Newsom announced a “hard close” on all beaches and state parks in Orange County on Thursday, after news photos circulated showing people not following social distancing guidelines over the last weekend of April.

Prior to that announcement, according to a California Police Chiefs Association memo and local officials in Dana Point and San Diego, Newsom had planned to close all beaches and state parks across the state.

But, in an apparent change of course, the governor only ordered those closures to be put in place in Orange County, saying “specific issues on some of those beaches raised alarm bells” and citing concern over high numbers of infection and hospitalization rates in the county.

Local officials there have maintained those photos did not accurately reflect the situation on the beaches and that most visitors were adhering to guidelines.

In recent days some of those officials, including Huntington Beach mayor Lyn Semeta, have argued that Orange County has some of the lowest per capita coronavirus death rates in the state. On Sunday, the county had experienced over 2,743 cases of coronavirus and 52 deaths from COVID-19, according to Orange County public health data.

Advertisements

Dana Point city officials accused Gov. Newsom of pulling a bait and switch, saying that during the official closure announcement, a separate conference call was taking place informing Orange County officials the shutdown was taking place over the entire California coastline.

Newsom has maintained he had always planned to implement a targeted shutdown in Orange County. The governor’s office has not responded to multiple requests for comment from NPR.

This weekend the scene on the beach was strikingly different from the one before; Orange County shorelines were virtually empty, though some had some sparse crowds.

Still, Californians gathered in a different way over the weekend — about 2,500 people protested the statewide shutdown and the local beach shutdown in Huntington Beach on Friday.

Tensions have risen to a boil with the statewide stay-at-home order now lasting more than six weeks and unemployment reaching record levels. Beyond Huntington Beach, smaller protests rallying against the shelter-in-place orders broke out in Sacramento, San Francisco and San Diego.

Modoc, a rural county in northern California with no reported cases of COVID-19, went ahead with reopening most businesses on Friday. Yuba and Sutter counties are poised to join that approach, and allow many businesses to reopen on Monday, going against Newsom’s rules.

Still, polls show the majority of Californians support the stay-at-home orders.

Newsom stuck to his message that modifications of the order would come in “weeks not months” until Friday, when he said changes would be coming down the pipeline in many days, not weeks.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Like it? Share with your friends!

70
11 shares, 70 points

What's Your Reaction?

hate hate
23
hate
confused confused
14
confused
fail fail
7
fail
fun fun
4
fun
geeky geeky
2
geeky
love love
18
love
lol lol
21
lol
omg omg
14
omg
win win
7
win

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Facebook Comments

Choose A Format
Personality quiz
Series of questions that intends to reveal something about the personality
Trivia quiz
Series of questions with right and wrong answers that intends to check knowledge
Poll
Voting to make decisions or determine opinions
Story
Formatted Text with Embeds and Visuals
List
The Classic Internet Listicles
Countdown
The Classic Internet Countdowns
Open List
Submit your own item and vote up for the best submission
Ranked List
Upvote or downvote to decide the best list item
Meme
Upload your own images to make custom memes
Video
Youtube, Vimeo or Vine Embeds
Audio
Soundcloud or Mixcloud Embeds
Image
Photo or GIF
Gif
GIF format