Newsom closes Orange Co. beaches, O.C. Sheriff says he won’t enforce order

Following a busy weekend at southern California beaches, California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued an order Thursday to close all state and local beaches in Orange County. 

Newsom said Thursday during his daily coronavirus briefing that the shutdown only applies exclusively to Orange County beaches,

After news trickled out via the California Police Chief’s Association that Newsom was on the precipice of shutting down all state beaches and parks, Newsom rolled back his proposed action to the lone Southern California county.

“The conditions last week, the images we saw on a few of our beaches were disturbing,” Newsom said. “I was very candid about that. We’ve been very consistent about that, and we had anticipated a week ago today concerns with that weather coming back up and wanted people to be vigilant. Unfortunately, just in a couple of our beaches we didn’t see that happen.” 

The governor said that it is too early to tell if the crowds at the beaches last weekend have had a negative impact on public health and have contributed to the spread of COVID-19. 

Newsom said it comes down to the county to enforce the order. 

It took little time for Orange County officials to summarily set aside the order.

Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes announced Thursday that his agency would not take any enforcement action.

“The photographs I saw, quite honestly, were a stark contrast to what the governor’s acting on,” Barnes told the Associated Press.

Beyond the beaches, Newsom also announced that the California Department of Social Services has launched a website – mychildcare.ca.gov – designed to connect essential workers with children to child care services. 

“Child care has been a huge challenge – 63 percent of licensed child care facilities in the state have been impacted from this crisis,” Newsom said.

Anyone can use the site to find local child care services that the state has vetted and researched, Newsom said, and the state has placed 432 pop-up facilities throughout the state. 

Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.