California beaches and parks to close

Gov. Gavin Newsom responds to beach crowds

On Sunday, March 29, Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered all California state parks closed to vehicle access because of continued violations of social-distancing rules put into action to slow the spread of COVID-19. However, several beaches in Orange County have been reopened after local protests. There are now a total of 66 parks closed across all counties in California, with local and federal agencies reducing access to hundreds of trails, beaches, parks and forests. 

There are now 98 beaches and state parks with closed parking. According to the California Department of Parks and Recreation, to halt the spread of COVID-19 they are working “with state and local public health officials, the Governor’s Office, and the state office of emergency services to temporarily fully close some state parks and beaches to the public and close vehicular access at all 280 state park units.” 

Newsom ordered the closure of Orange County beaches April 30 after large groups crowded the coast. Although there have been various closures, Orange County Supervisor Lisa Barlett plans to present a proposal to reopen the entire county’s 42 miles of coastline for recreational activities. As of now, it remains unclear as to what other cities have submitted plans of reopening. 

In an attempt to curve those not following the recommended social distancing rules in Orange County and Ventura County, Newsom responded with a warning that “defying the state’s stay at home order could delay its reopening.”

In Newport Beach, there were around 80,000 visitors at the beach the weekend of April 24. So far, Laguna Beach approved a limited reopening. Beaches across San Diego County reopened April 27, with a few exceptions.

The heightened list for Northern California includes parks in the greater Bay Area, along with Mount Diablo in Contra Costa County, multiple Santa Cruz beaches and state beaches in Monterey County, including Natural Bridges, Andrew Molera, Pfeiffer Big Sur, Point Lobos and Castle Rock.

The shift in being able to return to recreational activities is dependent on people’s behavior. The stay-at-home order issues in March by Gov. Newsom highlighted that California would reduce some restrictions in return for compliance so that the curve gets flattened.

“The reality is we are just a few weeks away, not months away, from making measurable and meaningful changes to our stay-at-home order,” he said. “That is a very optimistic point to emphasize,” Newsom emphasized.

Beaches closed