On Sunday, a 93-year-old couple sitting on folding chairs they had brought to a beach in Oxnard, California, got a rude awakening to the draconian policies implemented by the state when a policeman approached them and asked them to get off the chairs and sit on the ground if they wanted to remain where they were, despite the fact that they were far from any other people. The reasoning of the policeman was that the folding chairs indicated the couple were creating a permanent place as opposed to the temporary nature of sitting on the sand itself.
The incident occurred two days after a reported 40,000 people flocked to the beaches in Newport Beach, California, twice as many as had visited the beach on Thursday, as people fleeing Los Angeles’ and San Diego’s edicts against opening beaches. Lifeguard Battalion Chief Brian O’Rourke told Fox News, “We’re seeing a huge increase in crowds that we would normally see out here in the middle of the summer.”
Last Thursday California Governor Gavin Newsom stated in a news briefing, “People are prone to want to go to the beaches, parks, playgrounds and go on a hike. If it is open, just abide by social distancing.”
But after crowds flocked to Southern California beaches over the weekend, Newsom slammed beachgoers on Monday, snapping, “This virus doesn’t take the weekends off, this virus doesn’t go home because it’s a beautiful, sunny day along our coast … We can’t see the images like we saw, particularly on Saturday in Newport Beach and elsewhere,” according to The Guardian.
The Ventura County Star reported on April 8:
Oxnard, which has kept its parks and beaches open, will close them on Saturday and Sunday. Easter weekend typically brings out crowds, and city officials don’t want that to happen as social distancing orders continue. The parks and beaches in Oxnard, which include Mandalay and Ormond, are expected to reopen Monday with social distancing orders. Nearby county beaches — Silver Strand, Hollywood and Kiddie — will close over the weekend too. Other neighboring beaches — San Buenaventura and Ventura — have been closed and will continue to be closed through the weekend. Ventura and Port Hueneme piers are also closed.
Police Chief Scott Whitney stated, “We do not want to issue any tickets. The intent is not to issue any tickets on technical violations, if we have people walking through a park. But if we have a large group that shows up and if they don’t comply, we will issue them a citation. It’s also a misdemeanor so they would be subject to arrest if they don’t cooperate.”
On March 27, the Los Angeles County of Public Health issued a statement ordering the closing of all public beaches and public trails in Los Angeles County. The statement also asserted, “This order shall be effective immediately and continue through April 19, 2020.”