Summer-like weather throughout much of California drove large crowds to the beaches Saturday despite a statewide stay-at-home order intended to suppress the spread of coronavirus.
Temperatures reached into the 80 s and 90 s in Southern California, where people were swimming in the Pacific and sunbathing on beaches that had previously been closed to dissuade large gatherings. Not all were reopened but some counties had actually reduced restrictions while alerting individuals to preserve social distancing.
” It’s crowded out,” said Brian O’Rourke, a lifeguard battalion chief in Newport Beach. “We have not had too many problems with [social distancing] as lifeguards. Our main mission is enjoying the water. We have actually had dozens of ocean rescues and numerous preventative actions.”
An approximated 40,000 loaded onto Newport Beach on Friday and comparable crowds were anticipated Saturday, The Associated Press reported.
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” We have actually had excellent compliance,” O’Rourke said. “People are expanding.”
In close-by Huntington Beach, where dozens of residents protested recently against California’s stay-at-home order, hundreds of people stuffed onto the sand. Some used masks however social distancing was less obvious.
North of Los Angeles, in Ventura County, families romped in the ocean. One visitor informed “NBC Nightly News” that people “have to get out” instead of “living in a cave or hole.”
Beaches in Los Angeles County, the state’s biggest, remained closed.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti urged residents to stay at home in spite of the spring heat wave that drove temperature levels in some areas to near 100 degrees midweek.
” There is a direct correlation in between what you do this weekend and for how long this will take and the number of lives we will lose,” he stated Friday. “If you stay home this weekend, our case numbers will drop, and we will stop the spread of this infection.”
Los Angeles Cops Department Chief Michel Moore thanked residents in a tweet for picking to follow the county’s directive and keeping beaches clear.
My compliments to our community for staying away from the beaches in LA. From Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice, to Dockweiler – All Clear!! Safer at Home will get us there faster. pic.twitter.com/wZeJ8G8pDR
— Chief Michel Moore (@LAPDChiefMoore) April 25, 2020
California has more than 42,000 coronavirus cases and over 1,600 deaths, according to NBC News counts. While the variety of infections has actually remained substantially lower than numerous of the hardest hit cities in the Northeast, coronavirus has not vanished from the state.
The gradual uptick in infections has prompted Gov. Gavin Newson to keep the stay-at-home order while guvs in other parts of the nation are beginning to unwind theirs.
Last weekend, Florida and South Carolina started reopening beaches for the first time since the coronavirus break out started on U.S. soil.
Alicia Victoria Lozano
Alicia Victoria Lozano is a Los Angeles-based digital reporter for NBC News.