Gov. Newsom Closes Orange County Beaches
California Governor Gavin Newsom announced in his daily coronavirus update he was closing Orange County's beaches. He also said this was the third day in a row that the number of coronavirus deaths has increased. Read highlights below or watch his press conference above.
CLOSING ORANGE COUNTY BEACHES
While many weekend beachgoers practiced social distancing, some beaches had problems, Newsom said.
The governor announced that the state would be closing state and local beaches in Orange County, a less drastic measure than earlier reports, based on a memo to the state's police chiefs, that said Newsom was considering closing all California beaches.
When asked about that memo, Newsom said that while the state asked police chiefs and other groups for input, the plan wasn't to close all state beaches.
"We're going to do a hard close in that part of the state, just in the Orange County area," Newsom said, adding that the state is working with the county.
He thanked areas where beachgoing was handled well, including the city of Los Angeles and L.A. County. He also thanked Orange County for their work on guidelines for reopening its businesses, saying that those guidelines were interesting and thoughtful.
The governor said that outdoor activity is encouraged, as long as you aren't congregating or lingering. "We don't want beaches with tens of thousands of people mixing," Newsom said. He encouraged people to check out the state's guidance on what outdoor recreational activities are allowed, noting that the state's COVID-19 website has been updated with more details.
California Coastal Commission chair/Chula Vista city councilman Steve Padilla issued a statement in support of the beach closure.
"What this shows is that the threat of coronavirus spreading remains very real and that Governor Newsom is as serious as ever about keeping Californians safe," Padilla said in the statement. "I had COVID-19, was hospitalized for three weeks and in ICU on a ventilator for 11 days fighting for my life. So take it from me, we need to listen to the Governor and stay home until it's safe."
He added, "The Coastal Commission's entire mission is ensuring access to the coast and I recognize that many Southern Californians will be very disappointed with the decision. However, the governor's action will serve to protect the health, safety and lives of all Californians. Our coast is a precious resource for all of us but today we should remember what's most precious — life itself and the health of our communities."
Newsom also pointed out that although there is hope that COVID-19 may be seasonal, even sunny places are having issues. As an example, he cited Singapore, which has seen a surge in coronavirus infections and now has the highest number of reported cases in Southeast Asia.
LATEST CORONAVIRUS NUMBERS
There were another 95 deaths in the last 24 hours, Newsom said — close to last week's high. California saw a 5.2% increase in new positives, although Newsom noted that it may be because the state is now testing more people. He said California is meeting its goal of being able to conduct 25,000 tests per day by the end of the month.
NEW CHILD-CARE INTERNET PORTAL
The governor announced a new child-care website meant to respond to the current situation. The coronavirus epidemic has impacted 63% of the state's child-care facilities, Newsom said. You can type in your zip code and see local child-care facilities, along with more information about each one.
The site was inspired by union child care website Carina, Newsom said, but this new website is accessible to everyone. There have been 432 pop-up child-care centers set up across the state, state Social Services Department director Kim Johnson said.
Newsom said that California is working with various sectors of industry to decide when businesses can reopen. That includes expanding the definition of "essential workers."
The governor's office is close to finishing his work on the May budget revision, Newsom said, adding that it will be made public on Thursday, May 14.
The governor also said there have been discussions around the liability of nursing homes but he currently has no announcements about that issue.