Two Orange County cities can start reopening their beaches Monday after they submitted plans to avoid overcrowding and allow for physical distancing in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, state officials said.
The cities of Laguna Beach and San Clemente both submitted plans to reopen their beaches that adhere to Gov. Gavin Newsom's stay-at-home order, the California Natural Resources Agency said in a statement. Additional details of the plans were not immediately provided by the state.
State agencies are also working with other local governments in Orange County to safely restore access to their beaches, the statement said.
Newsom ordered all beaches in Orange County closed last week after videos and photos showed large crowds at some beaches over the previous weekend. The city of Huntington Beach filed a lawsuit trying to get its beach reopened, but a judge refused to block the state's order and set another hearing on the issue for next week.
Some residents have supported Newsom's move and said out-of-towners had descended upon their communities as Los Angeles County shut down its beaches, making it difficult to get through congested streets while keeping safe distancing. But many have opposed, arguing the beach is the place where they can most readily get exercise and fresh air, which are also vital for their health and well-being.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death. The vast majority of people recover.
Laguna Beach had previously closed its beaches and proposed last week to reopen them on weekday mornings for active use, the city said on its website. Messages were sent to the city of San Clemente.
In neighboring San Diego County, residents can walk or jog on beaches but can't sit and linger.