Coronavirus: First California county reopens in 'new normal'


Newsom on Monday lashed out at the crowds who flocked to beaches in Orange County - particularly in Newport Beach - and Ventura County, where many coastline areas remained open despite statewide stay-at-home and social-distancing orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Newsom said about 5% of California's around 100 beaches were packed during the weekend as residents tried to escape the heatwave gripping through the state. "This virus doesn't go home because it's a lovely sunny day around our coasts".

Newport Beach city council voted Tuesday to keep public areas open amid the coronavirus outbreak. For example, the city of San Diego allows its citizens to walk, jog and swim on the coast but prohibits stopping and sitting.

In the Modoc County seat of Alturas, population 3,000, where restaurants serving Mexican, Italian, Chinese and other cuisines cater to travelers using Highway 395, restaurant managers were removing tables or spacing them out to keep the required distance between customers.

"I was kind of torn between what was right and what was wrong, but the law is what the law is and you just don't do any different", she said.

The memo was sent on Wednesday by the governor's office to California's police chiefs to plan ahead of Newsom's announcement on Thursday.

"After the well-publicized media coverage of overcrowded beaches this past weekend, in violation of Governor Newsom's Shelter in Place Order, the Governor will be announcing [Thursday] that ALL beaches and all state parks in California will be closed, effective Friday, May 1", the memo reads.

Coe isn't anxious about the California governor taking action, and said: "The governor himself has indicated that it is time to start opening in a staged and safe manner, and that will be different for different areas of the state".

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Earlier this week, law enforcement memo was widely disseminated that indicated that Newsom meant to close all state beaches as well as parks - not just in Orange County - starting Friday, May 1.

Wagner called the governor's decision an "overreaction from the state (that) will undermine that cooperative attitude and our collective efforts to fight the disease, based on the best available medical information".

A week after Californians tired of stay-at-home orders packed beaches, authorities pleaded for weekend visitors to follow social distancing rules: no bunching, keep walking or swimming, and leave the umbrellas at home. Needless to say, numerous protesters were unmasked and almost all were practicing the opposite of physical distancing.

Yuba-Sutter Health Officer Phuong Luu issued the order (pdf), which lets restaurants, libraries, retailers, malls, gyms, salons, massage parlors, and tattoo shops reopen May 4 under limitations for social distancing. Muller is in favor of taking legal action. "We're working with the county".

"It's time to move on", Huntington Beach resident Jim Puro, 59, said Thursday.

"Gov. Newsom just doesn't seem to get it", Moorlach said. "I want to say many days, not weeks, as long as we continue to be prudent and thoughtful".

Beaches are just the latest focus for frustrations over Newsom's month-and-a-half-old order requiring almost 40 million residents to remain mostly indoors.