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California City Resists Beach Closure Order

Huntington Beach seeks injunction against Newsom directive
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2020 7:36 AM CDT

(Newser) – They were having fun, fun, fun, until Newsom took the beaches away. The city of Huntington Beach is fighting California Gov. Gavin Newsom's order to close all beaches and state parks in Orange County starting Friday, the Los Angeles Times reports. The city council, saying it should be up to the county, not the state, voted Thursday night to seek an injunction against the order. "This is Surf City. Our identity is very much tied up in our beaches," Mayor Lyn Semeta said, per NBC4. "Constitutionally I really feel it’s not something legally the governor should be doing." Newsom had initially been expected to close all of the state's beaches, but the order issued Thursday was specific to Orange County, reports NPR.

Newsom said people in most of California were complying with social distancing guidelines, but images of crowded Orange County beaches last weekend had raised concerns, so "we're gonna do a hard close in that part of the state." Beachgoers tell the OC Register, however, that most people were already complying with social distancing guidelines. "When 98% of the people are doing the right thing, you don’t close the entire beach for the actions of the 2%," says surfer Louis Rice. "The answer would be to regulate, admonish, and fine irresponsible behavior." Huntington Beach says city beaches will be closed until an injunction is granted, although Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes said Thursday that his office isn't planning to enforce Newsom's order. (Read more California stories.)

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