Orange County

Newport Beach Reopens Beaches; The Rest of Orange County is Up Next

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Newport Beach received permission from Gov. Gavin Newsom Wednesday to reopen its seven miles of oceanfront for active use only, and county officials were preparing a similar plan to submit for approval.

With Newport Beach's shoreline reopened, the county's 16% of oceanfront is the last to reopen. The Orange County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted 3-2 after a fiery debate to direct staff to submit a plan for the reopening of its beaches.

"We're going to be submitting it very soon up to the state and they promised to turn it around very quickly,'' said Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, who represents much of the south county beaches and pushed for the active-use plan.

A NBC4 chopper flies above Newport beach, finding many residents on the beach who seem to be defying state quarantine orders. Gil Leyvas reports for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 3, 2020.

Newport Beach officials were out removing barricades Wednesday, city spokesman John Pope said. The new beach hours there will be 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day of the week to match the same plan in San Clemente and Huntington Beach.

"The city is very pleased to reopen our beaches for the physical and mental well being of our residents,'' Newport Beach Mayor Will O'Neill said.

"While the active recreation model was not the preferred choice by the City Council, after discussions with our public safety personnel we are confident that city staff will manage the beaches effectively under the approved plan.''

Did California Governor Gavin Newsom over-reach when he closed the Orange County beaches? NBC4’s Conan Nolan talks with Marie Waldron (R-Escondido), the leader of the Republican Minority in the California State Assembly.

Newsom praised Newport Beach officials for their "collaborative spirit'' in working out its plan.

"That's the spirit that will allow us in real time to make judicious decisions,'' Newsom said.

The mayor said the city will try to get beachgoers to voluntarily comply with the new rules before having to resort to citations.

The active uses approved include walking, running, hiking, bicycling, swimming, surfing, bodysurfing, boogie boarding, kite surfing, paddle boarding, skim boarding, and kayaking. Sunbathing is not allowed.

The city's boardwalk on the peninsula, the popular Wedge surfing spot and the parking lots will remain closed, Pope said.

The county's plan will also seek to match the hours approved in each city, Bartlett said.

"It mirrors the hours of operation and services for each of the host cities, so it's consistent,'' Bartlett said.

Seal Beach, Huntington Beach and Dana Point reopened their beaches for active use on Tuesday.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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