California heat wave draws large crowds to beaches despite stay-at-home order
Summer-like weather across much of California drove large crowds to the beaches Saturday despite a statewide stay-at-home order intended to curb the spread of coronavirus.
Temperatures reached into the 80s and 90s in Southern California, where people were swimming in the Pacific and sunbathing on beaches that had previously been closed to discourage large gatherings.
Not all were reopened but some counties had eased restrictions while warning people to maintain social distancing.
“It’s a beautiful day,” Frank Feerini, who was at Huntington Beach in Orange County, told CNN affiliate KABC Saturday. “How can you keep anybody in?”
Temperatures reached 93 degrees in Los Angeles on Saturday.
“I think that people want to get out,” Feerini said. “I think they’ve been cooped up, I think they’re going stir crazy.”
Authorities in both Ventura and Orange Counties reported excellent behavior by beachgoers, who they said were observing social distancing rules after weeks being hunkered down to slow the spread of the virus.
“People are being very cooperative and observing the social distancing rules,” said Brian O’Rourke, the lifeguard battalion chief for Newport Beach.
Beaches in Los Angeles County, the state’s largest, remained closed.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti implored residents to stay home despite the spring heat wave that drove temperatures in some areas to near 100 degrees midweek.
“There is a direct correlation between what you do this weekend and how long this will take and how many lives we will lose,” he said Friday. “If you stay home this weekend, our case numbers will drop, and we will stop the spread of this virus.”
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore thanked residents in a tweet for choosing to follow the county’s directive and keeping beaches clear.