LAGUNA BEACH, Calif. - City officials in Laguna Beach announced they are closing its coastline over Independence Day weekend, making it the first beach city in Orange County to do so.
On Tuesday, the Orange County Health Care Agency reported 779 infections and 10 new deaths, which broke another daily record for positive COVID-19 cases. Officials say the increase was due in part to a backlog in the reporting of cases.
Last week was the deadliest of the pandemic in Orange County with 56 deaths reported.
As a result, Orange County beach cities are preparing for an influx of visitors along the coast over the Fourth of July weekend.
Laguna Beach City Council members voted unanimously Tuesday night to close city beaches, as Huntington Beach officials announced they will stay open. There’s been no indication from Newport Beach city officials on whether or not beaches there would close or remain open.
During the holiday weekend, Huntington Beach will be deploying an "enhanced public safety presence" at the beaches, while also enforcing regulations against illegal fireworks. The city plans to fully staff its police department and Marine Safety Division to patrol beaches and other high traffic areas throughout the weekend to “encourage and enforce social distancing”, according to a news release.
"I think they should close the beaches because everyone from surrounding areas will flood the beach. There’s no point in closing those areas if you’re going to keep this one open," Huntington Beach resident Kate Morrissey told FOX 11.
However, not all residents agree.
"They need to stay open. It’s the 4th of July and we need to enjoy our time, family, and friends," said resident Denise Bartlett. "The fireworks have been closed and I think it’s really cool that Huntington Beach is going to stay open."
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The Huntington Beach Pier and City beaches will remain open this weekend during regular hours, with beaches set to close at 10 p.m. and the Pier closing at midnight. In addition, its annual Fourth of July parade is canceled. As an alternative, the city will send out two caravans for people to watch from their homes.
County officials are also considering bar closures for the holiday weekend.
Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered bars to close in seven California counties on Sunday and recommended bars to close in eight others, including San Bernardino.
Orange County officials are set to decide sometime this week.
Beaches will be closed over the holiday weekend in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.