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People crowd Southern California beaches despite coronavirus concerns

Relaxed restrictions and a record heat wave are sending crowds to some beaches in California amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Posted: Apr 27, 2020 9:30 AM


Seeking relief from a heat wave, thousands of people crowded beaches in Southern California this weekend amid the coronavirus pandemic, despite a statewide stay-at-home order implemented by the governor last month.

While beaches in Los Angeles and San Diego Counties remained closed, they were open in Ventura and Orange Counties. However, beachgoers still had to adhere to a patchwork of guidelines and restrictions, including keeping parking lots closed to discourage outside visitors and limit crowds.

"It's a beautiful day," Frank Feerini, who was at Huntington Beach in Orange County, told CNN affiliate KABC Saturday. "How can you keep anybody in?"

The summer-like weather was a big draw for many who flocked to the beach.

More than 18 million under heat advisories issued on Friday. Temperatures reached 93 degrees in Los Angeles on Saturday.

"I think that people want to get out," Feerini said. "I think they've been cooped up, I think they're going stir crazy."

Authorities in both Ventura and Orange Counties reported excellent behavior by beachgoers, who they said were observing social distancing rules after weeks being hunkered down to slow the spread of the virus.

"People are being very cooperative and observing the social distancing rules," Brian O'Rourke, the lifeguard battalion chief for Newport Beach, told CNN.

By Sunday, temperatures had cooled down a bit in the region, but that didn't deter people from trekking to the beach to soak in the sun.

At Deer Creek Beach, just north of the Ventura County line and about 13 miles west of Malibu, beachgoers threw frisbees, played fetch with their dogs, waded into the cool water and went surfing.

Many did appear to follow social distancing guidelines while engaging in the outdoor activities.

"I just saw some friends who I had not seen in six weeks and we greeted each other but maintained social distancing," Nick Rosenfeld, who lives in Malibu, told CNN.

"But it's tough," he added. "We've got to get back to work. I'm an unemployed personal trainer, and this is the first time I've been out of the house in a long time."

The scenes at Ventura and Orange County beaches were a stark contrast to the empty neighboring Southern California beaches.

Just miles away, beaches in Los Angeles County looked more like ghost towns.

Under the county's stay-home order, beaches -- as well as beach parking lots, restrooms, showers and accessways -- will remain closed through May 15.

The 22-mile bicycle path that runs along the LA County coastline is also closed to pedestrians.

Signs in Santa Monica, California, that block the path read "temporary closure" and "public health order. Restricted area. Do not enter." In front of the beach's parking lots, the message on the signs are also a reminder to residents and visitors to steer clear: "Beach and beach lots are closed."

The LA County Sheriff's Department sent a reminder to residents on Twitter to avoid beachside hangouts. "Enforcement is in full effect!" the department wrote.

To help those trying to beat the heat -- and help people avoid the temptation of going to beaches -- LA County officials also opened emergency cooling centers.

San Diego beaches are also closed under a similar order, though authorities announced Friday that they would allow access to the water beginning Monday for swimming, surfing, paddle boarding and kayaking.

Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore applauded residents of his community for staying home, posting a picture on Twitter Saturday of deserted stretches of beach.

"My compliments to our community for staying away from the beaches in LA," he wrote. "From Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice, to Dockweiler - All Clear!! Safer at Home will get us there sooner."

In a statement, a spokesman for Gov. Gavin Newsom said that Californians have a responsibility to abide by the state's stay-home order. When they do venture out, they should practice social distancing.

"California is grateful to the vast majority of local leaders who are helping people stay home and save lives," press secretary Jesse Melgar said in a statement Sunday afternoon.

"Public access to parks, beaches or open spaces comes with a heavy responsibility to ensure that safe conditions are maintained consistent with the state order. We've come too far together to put the greater public health at risk."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 35419

Reported Deaths: 1230
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds290851
DeSoto190019
Madison144638
Jones120349
Harrison113616
Rankin108715
Neshoba104577
Forrest99343
Lauderdale96381
Scott81915
Jackson77519
Washington72213
Copiah65315
Leake63520
Lee61222
Oktibbeha61128
Grenada5949
Warren59421
Holmes58641
Wayne56218
Yazoo5536
Lowndes54813
Lamar5347
Leflore53156
Lincoln52935
Pike49920
Lafayette4974
Sunflower4778
Monroe45635
Panola4486
Covington4355
Bolivar40518
Simpson3933
Attala38424
Newton37510
Tate35213
Adams35120
Pontotoc3466
Marion32712
Claiborne30111
Chickasaw29719
Winston29511
Pearl River28832
Noxubee2788
Jasper2776
Marshall2773
Walthall2627
Clay25811
Union25211
Smith24612
Clarke22325
Coahoma2226
Lawrence2092
Yalobusha2079
Tallahatchie1954
Kemper18414
Carroll18111
Montgomery1713
Calhoun1645
Humphreys16310
Itawamba1468
Tippah14511
Hancock14413
Webster13411
Jefferson1263
Tunica1233
Jefferson Davis1204
Prentiss1204
George1163
Greene11310
Amite1103
Alcorn1002
Quitman991
Wilkinson989
Tishomingo971
Perry874
Choctaw754
Stone742
Franklin542
Sharkey480
Benton460
Issaquena101
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 49892

Reported Deaths: 1077
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson6433170
Mobile4753139
Montgomery4430112
Tuscaloosa263253
Madison21199
Marshall192611
Shelby164225
Lee157237
Morgan12695
Baldwin120711
Walker106131
Elmore102920
Dallas9969
Etowah95114
DeKalb9417
Franklin93216
Autauga67614
Russell6750
Chambers67427
Unassigned65328
Butler65129
Tallapoosa62869
Limestone6223
Houston5857
Cullman5716
Lauderdale5686
St. Clair5133
Colbert4956
Calhoun4905
Lowndes48122
Escambia4808
Pike4725
Coffee4244
Jackson4182
Covington41412
Barbour3942
Dale3911
Talladega3897
Bullock37710
Marengo35211
Hale34823
Chilton3232
Clarke3126
Wilcox3038
Blount2961
Winston2965
Sumter29113
Marion27514
Pickens2696
Randolph2589
Monroe2553
Perry2362
Conecuh2308
Bibb2211
Macon2159
Choctaw21212
Greene1959
Henry1533
Washington1418
Crenshaw1273
Lawrence1250
Cherokee1237
Geneva960
Lamar871
Clay852
Fayette821
Coosa651
Cleburne421
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