California Cities Challenge Newsom's Order Closing Orange County Beaches

Posted: May 01, 2020 4:30 PM
California Cities Challenge Newsom's Order Closing Orange County Beaches

Source: AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli

Despite a plea from Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) last week for Californians to ignore the sunshine and stay indoors, tens of thousands decided to take refuge from the hot weather at Huntington Beach and Newport Beach over the weekend. 

Beaches operated by the state remain closed but some city beaches have decided to reopen. After the strong turnout over the weekend, Gov. Newsom retaliated by ordering all city beaches and state parks to close down. The governor's office backtracked a little, saying the closure of city beaches will pertain only to cities in Orange County. But just hours after the governor's reprisal, cities in Orange County began voting to fight back. 


Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Dana Point city councils voted Thursday to challenge Governor Gavin Newsom’s orders to temporarily close all Orange County beaches beginning Friday.

Huntington Beach City Council plans to file an injunction challenging the constitutionality of the governor’s order to close the beaches.

“Huntington Beach has never been one to just roll over and take these mandates from the governor,” said Huntington Beach City Attorney Michael Gates. “We’re going to be fighting the order on a constitutional basis. We’re fighting for the city. We’re fighting for our decision makers locally who have done a good job managing this crisis. We’re also fighting for the citizens of Huntington Beach.”

Thursday afternoon, Newport Beach City Council held an emergency meeting on the governor’s orders. Councilman Kevin Muldoon has introduced a motion to join with other O.C. cities in filing litigation.

Dana Point City Council voted to join the other cities and seek a temporary restraining order to stop the state.

“The City Council voted to pursue litigation against Governor Newsom, challenging his order that all Orange County beaches, but no other beaches in the state, be closed,” Dana Point City Attorney Patrick Munoz said. ” 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.”

Newsom’s order also met sharp criticism from county supervisors, with one calling the move an “abuse of power.”

California has so far been spared the dire fate forecasted by the governor and public health experts. Around 2,000 people have died from the coronavirus in the state of California since the start of the outbreak. California boasts a population of nearly 40 million people. While the governor acknowledges the curve has flattened, Newsom says California's reopening will be guided by "science and public health." 

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