Southern California beaches in Ventura and Orange counties were open over the weekend and people didn’t seem concerned about social distancing
While much of the country continues to stay at home to slow the spread of COVID-19, some areas are getting a little antsy. For instance — beaches in some southern California counties were open over the weekend. And let’s just say people took advantage.
According to CNN, beaches in Los Angeles and San Diego counties were closed over the weekend but beaches in Ventura and Orange counties were open, resulting in scenes that prove there’s a whole lot of people not too worried about social distancing.
There were some guidelines in place for the counties including no parking lots open in order to limit crowds. Authorities reported few citations and good behavior, but the photos tell another story.
California governor Gavin Newsome expressed dismay at the behavior of California residents who apparently decided the virus wasn’t an issue if they had swimming and sunbathing to do. “Those images are an example of what not to see, people, what not to do if we’re going to make the meaningful progress that we’ve made in the last few weeks extend into the next number of weeks,” he said during a press conference yesterday of the photos showing citizens going about their beach business as though there’s not a deadly global pandemic in their midst.
“I cannot impress upon you more, to those Californians watching, that we can’t see the images like we saw, particularly on Saturday in Newport Beach and elsewhere, in the state of California,” he said. Newsom is being clear in his comments that he would consider stricter enforcement of current guidelines if people are out there doing whatever they please despite the state’s stay-at-home order.
“We will avail ourselves to more aggressive enforcement of the stay-at-home order, of the social distancing, of the guidelines and procedures that we expect to be followed all across the state of California,” he said.
Basically, he’s asking Californians to just be patient for a little while longer. “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.”
Bottom line, that optimism will go up in smoke if residents change their behavior and flout the guidelines too early. “However, that’s driven by data, it’s driven by behavior, and as we change our behavior, we can impact the science the health and the data,” Newsom says. “This virus doesn’t take the weekends off.”
For contrast, here is an aerial view of Los Angeles beaches over the weekend. At least some communities are taking it seriously.
Of course, the governor understands that people are cooped up and struggling. A walk on the beach isn’t something he wants to make a punishable offense. “I don’t want to be punitive,” Newsom said. “My gosh, someone who has lost their job, last thing they want to do is — walk their dog, they’re with their kids, they’ve got cabin fever, and they just want to take a rest on the beach, and all of a sudden, they get a citation. I don’t want to see that happen.”
But if that’s what has to happen to make people safe, then he’s willing.
“But if there are people thumbing their nose and abusing it, putting their lives at risk because they’re impacting the lives of others, and ultimately setting back the cause of reopening the economy as quickly as we’d like to, I think we may have to do a little bit more.”