Orange County

Orange County Cities Approach Fourth of July Weekend Cautiously With Increased Fines, Closures

The potential closures come as Orange County reported its largest number of new cases Tuesday, 779, though officials say those numbers go as far back as two weeks.

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Laguna Beach Tuesday joined the growing list of coastlines closed for the Fourth of July holiday, but nearby Newport and Huntington beaches are deciding to keep their beaches open.

However, Newport Beach is imposing steep fines for people partying in an attempt to help stop the spread of coronavirus. There also won't be any fireworks in Newport Beach.

So, what’s the Fourth of July weekend look like in Newport Beach without the pyrotechnics and parties? 

"Crazy — we have a lot of parties there’s fireworks," Kylie Sorensen, a Newport Beach resident reacted to the news.

Another Newport Beach resident, Lacey Johnston, said, "It will knock down the numbers more than we are used to, but it's not going to completely prevent people from doing what they want to do."

Police hope tripling the fines for loud music, unruly parties and drinking in public will at least help people celebrate safely in the midst of a pandemic.

In one problem area for police, unruly gatherings could lead to a $1,500 fine.

"I really do hope it works," Noreen Khafagi, a Newport Beach resident, says. "I hope people are a little cautious. It's real. It's still out there."

And that's exactly why Laguna Beach decided to close its beaches for one day, on Saturday, July 4. 

From beaches to bars, that could be just the beginning of more closures for Orange County, as county leaders are now considering closing all bars ahead of the busy holiday weekend.

"It’s difficult because I know it's a serious issue," Peter Graziano, a bartender at the Beach Ball, says. "I know the numbers are going up, but I also know we can’t keep our economy shut down forever. So, yea, I absolutely have mixed feelings about it."

The potential closures come as Orange County reported its largest number of new cases Tuesday, 779, though officials say those numbers go as far back as two weeks.

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