HUNTINGTON BEACH SET TO CHALLENGE THE GOVERNOR’S ORDER TO CLOSE ALL ORANGE COUNTY BEACHES

Huntington Beach, CA

In response to Governor Newsom’s announcement earlier today directing the hard closure of all beaches in Orange County, the Huntington Beach City Council voted last night to pursue a legal challenge against the State’s beach closure order.

“Governor Newsom’s mandate to close all beaches in Orange County today was a jarring decision that significantly impacts us here in Huntington Beach,” said Mayor Lyn Semeta. “Given that Orange County has among the lowest per-capita COVID-19 death rates in California, the action by the State prioritizes politics over data, in direct contradiction of the Governor’s stated goal to allow science and facts to guide our response to this horrible global pandemic.”

In response to the Governor’s Orange County beach closure order, the Huntington Beach City Council voted 5-2 (with Council Member Kim Carr and Council Member Barbara Delgleize dissenting) to direct the City Attorney to pursue any and all legal actions necessary to challenge the State’s beach closure directive.

Out of concern for being the only Orange County city with beaches still open, Huntington Beach will be closing all beaches starting May 1, including the City’s bike paths, boat ramps, restrooms, parking lots, and associated recreational amenities. In addition, activities such as sunbathing, walking, running, and watersports will be prohibited.

Prior to the issuance of the Governor’s directive, the City had been following the State’s Stay-at- Home Order guidelines, and had invested considerable effort and expense in order to discourage overcrowding while facilitating effective social distancing at our beaches. In this way, Huntington Beach let stakeholders know they were attempting to provide the community with the ability to safely experience the physical and mental health benefits associated with accessing the Pacific Ocean. They believe their experience locally had been that most people were being responsible and complying with social distancing requirements.

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