Orange County officials upset after Gov. Newsom announces closure of beaches

Officials in Orange County are expressing their concerns after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday the closure of all beaches in the county. 

Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner says the governor’s decision is not wise and is based on photos showing crowded beaches over the weekend. 

“It is not wise to make public policy from Sacramento based on a couple of photographs out of a local paper. I urge the governor to trust the locals,” Wagner said during a press briefing Thursday afternoon.

“It is clear however that the telephoto lens distorted what was going on at the beach,” he added.  

Wagner is urging Newsom to listen and engage with county officials and health officials as to what can properly be been done in the county.  

Wagner said he’s seen compliance from residents throughout the county who are practicing physical distancing, wearing masks and listening to Stay at Home orders. 

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“I worry that by making policy for one county, based on a couple of photos and not listening to the science, the governor will undermine all the good work that has been done in this county and throughout the state,” Wagner stated. 

The Board of Supervisors say the governor is singling out Orange County and urge him to rethink his order. 

Wagner says all the protocols being taken in the county are working to help slow the spread of COVID-19. 

On Monday, Newsom lamented images of crowds that gathered on some beaches in Orange County -- particularly in Newport Beach -- last weekend, saying such masses of people are a feeding ground for COVID-19 and could reverse the progress the state has made in "flattening the curve'' of the illness.

Orange County GOP Chairman Fred Whitaker said he was "greatly angered'' by the closure of the beaches.

"It is a complete slap in the face to local control and has nothing to do with health,'' he said. ``His (Newsom's) actions are arrogant and unnecessary. A pandemic does not cancel our constitution, our branches of government or our right to be governed by those we elected in our local communities.''

He repeated those concerns Thursday, while noting the "vast majority'' of the state did not have issues with large crowds gathering.

No dates for the closure have been announced. 

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City News Service contributed to this report