California sheriffs respond to governor's order to close beaches

Virus Outbreak California Beaches
Posted at 9:50 PM, Apr 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-01 00:52:04-04

Since Governor Gavin Newsom announced he wanted to close California beaches amid COVID-19, sheriffs in several counties have responded that they will not enforce the closures.

Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes released a statement saying the governor's decision to "single out Orange County" beaches was "wrong and fails to recognize the secrifices made" by the residents of O.C. Barnes continued to say that beachgoers over the weekend "acted responsibly" and law enforcement "was able to address instances of unsafe activity."

Newsom admonished beachgoers in Orange County for overcrowding during a Monday news conference. On Thursday the governor said the closure would be more a "temporary pause on state and local beaches" in Orange County.

Barnes said his intention is to not take enforcement action on this order. The Huntington Beach City Council voted Thursday to seek an injunction against the beach closures.

San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson followed Barnes's suit in resisting the governor's order. In a post on the SLO Sheriff's Advisory Foundation, Parkinson was quoted saying, "I am not in favor of our beaches being closed and do not plan to make criminals out of people that need to walk, run or enjoy the beach for their mental health. These are hard times and we need to self-police ourselves and follow safety practices like social distancing and other methods."

Oxnard Police released its view on beach closures, sharing a post distinguishing what is allowed and not allowed at Oxnard beaches during the stay at home order. OP said for now, it is not allowing gatherings on the beach, including sunbathing or extended stays. It is however allowing residents to run, walk, surf or swim.

Humboldt County Sheriff William Honsal said he has no plans to enforce the beach closures, our ABC affiliate in San Francisco reported Thursday. Honsal told ABC7, "As Sheriff, I am the protector of constitutional rights in Humboldt County, and if an order is issued that I believe violates our constitutional rights."