Temperatures hit the 80s and 90s in California hotspots from Sacramento to San Diego Saturday, and crowds in the thousands flooded sandy shores in Newport Beach, which is about 45 miles southeast of Los Angeles, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Brian O’Rourke, a lifeguard battalion chief, told the newspaper lifeguards are seeing huge crowds, with about 40,000 people reported at the beach Friday.
Authorities in Pacific Grove, which is in northern California, were forced to shut down the popular Lovers Point Park and Beach Saturday because of crowds. Laguna Beach closed its beaches to visitors Friday, and San Jose announced Friday it was banning people from playgrounds, sporting areas, and equipment at area parks. “We ask that you respect these closures to avoid citations punishable by fines of $100 or more,” the city about 50 miles south of San Francisco tweeted Friday.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer asked residents to “please stay at home” in a tweet on March 23. “I have directed the @CityofSanDiego to move forward with closing all City-owned parks, beaches and trails. There were far too many ignoring physical distancing rules this weekend,” he said. “The actions of a few can cost the lives of many.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti echoed Faulconer’s ask. “There is a direct correlation between what you do this weekend and how long this will take and how many lives we will lose,” he said Friday, according to NBC News. “If you stay home this weekend, our case numbers will drop, and we will stop the spread of this virus.”
California had more than 42,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,695 deaths as of Saturday, according to the Los Angeles Times. The California State Fair, planned for July 17 to August 2, was canceled. “Canceling this summer’s California State Fair is the right thing to do, and is in line with the measured, scientific approach that’s been implemented by the governor and health officials to fight COVID-19,” Cal Expo General Manager and CEO Rick Pickering said in a statement CBS News obtained.
Not every beach, however, is shutting down. Huntington Beach remains open, and so do beaches, parks, and the promenade in Ventura, the Los Angeles Times reported. Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear said in a newsletter that she’s working with mayors of eight other coastal cities in San Diego County to plan beach reopenings. “The plan that was put together based on the unanimous advice of lifeguards and marine safety personnel from all the coastal jurisdictions,” the Democrat said.
Encinitas, which is about 25 miles north of San Diego, plans to open Moonlight State Beach Monday, Blakespear told the KUSI news outlet. The decision follows about 100 anti-quarantine protesters showing up at the mayor’s house in what she called “a violation of the social contract that we all have with each other.” Blakespear said she hopes people can be patient and “wait just a couple more days.”
“It’s a very small sacrifice,” the mayor told KUSI. “A lot of people have made a major sacrifice and are suffering quite a bit because of it with their businesses closed, out of work. And so to sacrifice not being able to surf or walk on a specific trail exactly when you want to, it seems to me like that’s a completely reasonable thing for people to sacrifice, especially as we’re working to reopen, as I’ve said, in a reasonable way that it takes account of the very real public health threat.”