The decision whether or not to open the beaches in California has become a contentious issue as of late, and after heat spell brought out the crowds last weekend, Governor Gavin Newsom has taken decisive action. Announced today during a new conference, beaches in Orange County -- home of iconic surf spots Trestles and the Huntington Pier -- will see a "hard closure" starting on May 1.
There had been speculation that Newsom was going to shut all beaches and state parks throughout California, but after overwhelming crowds in Newport and Huntington Beach last weekend, he opted to focus exclusively on Orange County, which incidentally is the hub of the American surf industry.
"[It's the] same reason we are not reopening arenas with tens of thousands of people -- we don't want to have beaches with tens of thousands of people either," Newsom said.
"This virus doesn't take the weekends off," he continued. "This virus doesn't go home because it's a beautiful, sunny day around our coasts."
The approach to California's beach closures has been scatter shot as local municipalities have been empowered to do what's best for their local communities. In Los Angeles the beaches continue to remain completely closed, while San Diego has begun to open up some city beaches with county and state beaches remaining closed. And up north in Santa Cruz and San Francisco surfers can still access the ocean.
Orange County has been a patchwork of would-be solutions. Newport and Huntington have remained open throughout the shelter-in-place orders. Further south, Laguna Beach closed their beaches early in the ordeal and are just starting to let residents use them for a couple hours in the morning on weekdays. And in San Clemente, after being closed for two week the beaches opened up for the weekend, but will now be closed with the rest of the beaches in the county.
At this time there is no clear indication when the beaches may open back up again.