PHOTOS: Heat wave leads to crowded beaches in Orange County, California

newport beach weekendnewport beach weekend

Newport Beach during the coronavirus pandemic.

Allen J. Schaben/Getty Images


  • California Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to shut down all beaches and state parks effective May 1, CNN reported.
  • California’s Newport Beach and Huntington Beach were both packed over the weekend thanks to a heat wave that saw temperatures soaring into the 90s, the Los Angeles Times reported.
  • Los Angeles County beaches are closed, but many Orange County beaches are open.
  • Officials have said beachgoers are practicing social distancing, but residents said crowds were unseasonably large.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to shut down the all beaches and state parks in California, effective on Friday, reported Madeline Holcombe and Paul Vercammen for CNN

The move will override local officials’ previous beach-opening decisions. CNN obtained a memo in which Newsom stated he would make the announcement on Thursday. Newsom had spoken out against beachgoers earlier this week after California made news for its packed beaches over the weekend.

“This virus doesn’t take the weekends off. This virus doesn’t go home. We have to manage and augment our behavior,” he said on Monday, during his daily COVID-19 briefing. “The only thing that will set us back is people stopping practicing physical distancing.”

While some beaches remain closed in California, such as those in Los Angeles County, others have stayed open or have begun easing restrictions. That’s the case for many beaches in Orange County, including Newport Beach and Huntington Beach. With more people looking to get outside as the weather turns warmer, the differing policies may spell trouble for the open beaches.

Crowding was on clear display in some places as last weekend’s heat wave sent many Californians to their shores. While local officials have told various publications that beachgoers seem to be adhering to social distancing rules, residents have told a different story. Many say the crowds are huge for this time of year.

Here’s a look at the juxtaposition along southern California’s coastline, where some beaches are teeming with residents and others look like a ghost town.

On March 19, California issued a statewide stay-at-home order.

coronavirus california lockdown

Los Angeles’ normally packed Venice Beach is almost deserted on March 20, 2020, after a lockdown was enforced.

Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images


Source: Business Insider

But while some California beaches — such as those operated by the state — remain closed, others are open and encouraging social distancing.

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Chris Carlson/Getty Images


Source: Los Angeles Times

This weekend, a heat wave with temperatures climbing into the 80s and 90s sent many southern Californians flocking to open beaches.

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APU GOMES/Getty Images


Source: NBC News

In Orange County, where many beaches remain open, Newport Beach saw an estimated 40,000 visitors Friday. Similar crowds were expected Saturday. Some residents compared it to Fourth of July crowds.

newport beach



Michael Heiman/Getty Images


Source: Associated Press, The Hollywood Reporter

But not everyone agrees. “You would think it was summer,” surfer Tom Cozad told Orange County Register. “Everyone has been locked up and they need to get out, but the city should plan for this. People are pulling up to the beach, getting out of Ubers, dropping off friends.”

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Michael Heiman/Getty Images


Source: The Orange County Register

Huntington Beach, just north of Newport Beach, was also packed over the weekend despite foggy conditions. However, the pier, beach parking lots, and some metered parking were closed.

huntington beach bike path

Huntington Beach bike path.

Allen J. Schaben/Getty Images


Source: Los Angeles Times

Angie Bennett, spokeswoman for the Huntington Beach Police Department, told the Los Angeles Times that people were social distancing. “It’s been a nice, warm day, and it sounds like people are complying and doing what we are asking of them.”

huntington beach



Allen J. Schaben/Getty Images


Source: Los Angeles Times

These beaches are a sharp contrast to other Orange County cities, including Laguna Beach and Seal Beach, that have kept their beaches closed.

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Laguna Beach.

MediaNews Group/Orange County Register via Getty Images


Source: Los Angeles Times

Last week, the city of Ventura in Ventura County issued an amended ordinance to closed beaches and parks. It allows residents to access the city’s beaches, pier, promenade, and parks if they socially distance and remain active.

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Ventura Beach before restrictions were lifted.

Al Seib/Getty Images


Source: Los Angeles Times

People flooded Ventura beaches over the weekend.

—Jordynn (@jordynnstom) April 24, 2020

While people aren’t allowed to linger, Ventura Police Sgt. Mike Anselmo told the LA Times he didn’t enforce the rules. “I’m not going to ask some 50-year-old parents to run around with kids all day,” he said.

However, he did mandate that umbrellas had to come down, hoping the lack of shade would encourage people to not stay.

Source: NBC Nightly News

Meanwhile, Los Angeles county has kept its beaches closed. LA officials also asked residents not to crowd coasts in neighboring counties.

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An empty Venice Beach over the weekend.

Brian van der Brug/Getty Images


Source: Los Angeles Times, Business Insider

“There is a direct correlation between what you do this weekend and how long this will take and how many lives we will lose,” LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said Friday. “If you stay home this weekend, our case numbers will drop, and we will stop the spread of this virus.”

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Zuma Beach was deserted over the weekend.

Brian van der Brug/Getty Images


As of April 27, California has the fifth-highest number of coronavirus cases in the US at 43,691.

Source: NBC News

However, LA residents may not be staying put. Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett said the beaches were inundated with people from LA and San Diego counties.

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Newport Beach over the weekend.

Allen J. Schaben/Getty Images


“When you take a look at the folks that are coming down, they’re not only not adhering to safer-at-home policies in their own communities — they’re not even staying in their own counties,” she said, as reported by the LA Times.

“We knew the beach would be crowded, but I didn’t know it would be at this level,” resident Karissa Collins told the Orange County Register of Huntington Beach.”We’re only one of the few cities open, so everyone is coming to our beach.”

On Tuesday, Newport Beach officials held a meeting to address the weekend’s crowds. They voted against a proposed ordinance to close the beach for the next three weekends.

newport beach



Allen J. Schaben/Getty Images


“We want our beaches to be there for people to get their exercise and seek their fresh air enjoyment,” said Diane Dixon, Newport Beach councilwoman, had said prior to the meeting. “When people don’t respect the governor’s order it becomes something we need to manage in a different way.”

Source: Orange County Register, ABC7

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By |2020-04-30T15:27:32+00:00April 30th, 2020|Business|0 Comments

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