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Orange County Officials Ask Visitors To Stay Off The Beach

Only a few surfers are spotted on Huntington Beach, still practicing social distancing. (Screengrab from HB Cams)
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Last week, Ventura and Orange Counties made the move to re-open some of their beaches. But despite 90-degree weather this weekend, they're urging visitors not to crowd them.

Officials say social distancing is still required and beach use should be limited to walking or biking, not sunbathing. They're also asking that people in other counties (ahem, L.A.) stay home.

Angela Bennett with the Huntington Beach Police Department told NBC 4 that the beaches are meant for local use only, adding that "there will be nowhere to park at all."

Despite the parking deterrent, though, images of Huntington and Newport Beach released yesterday showed crowds hanging out, as if we weren't in the midst of a global pandemic. Residents say visitors are finding nearby street parking and walking to the beach.

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Orange County officials warn that if beaches become too crowded to ensure public health, they will close them again.

All Los Angeles County beaches remain closed this weekend and will have extra police on patrol. Cities such as Malibu, Santa Monica, and Long Beach will issue citations if necessary.

Mayor Garcetti put it bluntly at a news conference on Friday: "If you go out and hit the beaches and the trails, the safer-at-home orders will last longer, more people will be sick, and more will die."

The L.A. County stay-at-home order is in effect until May 15.

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Huntington Beach on Saturday, April 25. (Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images)

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