Two beach cities in Southern California voted to file an injunction against the governor’s order to temporarily close all beaches in Orange County.
The cities of Huntington Beach and Dana Point both held emergency City Council meetings Thursday after Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered county beaches closed starting Friday.
Newsom called the order a “temporary pause” saying Thursday the beaches could reopen quickly “if we can get some framework and guidelines to get this right.” Orange County officials blamed the governor’s decision on “misleading photographs” depicting packed crowds along the shores.
The Huntington Beach City Council voted 5-2 in favor of directing the City Attorney to pursue any and all legal actions to challenge the beach closure, a news release from the city says.
Huntington Beach Mayor Lyn Semeta called the governor’s mandate “jarring.”
“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,” the mayor said in a statement.
Huntington Beach will be closing all beaches starting Friday, including the city’s bike paths, boat ramps, restrooms, parking lots, and associated recreational amenities, the release says. Activities such as sunbathing, walking, running and watersports will also be prohibited, which follows guidelines sent to Orange County Supervisors from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency earlier today.
The city “invested considerable effort and expense” to work toward facilitating social distancing guidelines in beaches, the release says,
“In this way, the City was attempting to provide the community with the ability to safely experience the physical and mental health benefits associated with accessing the Pacific Ocean,” it says.
The release says people locally had been complying with the requirements.
In a 4-1 vote, City Council members in Dana Point also voted to participate in litigation that will be filed Friday, “seeking a temporary restraining order against the governor and state of California for the order to shut down beaches in Orange County,” Dana Point City Attorney Patrick Munoz announced in the meeting.
“The City will be seeking a temporary restraining order asking the Court to enjoin his order until a full hearing on the merits of the matter can occur,” Munoz told CNN.