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Friday, 1 May 2020

California city council moves to sue over state’s coronavirus beach closures

Beachgoers spread out the day before the beach is scheduled to close during the coronavirus outbreak, Thursday, April 30, 2020, in Newport Beach, Calif. California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday temporarily closed Orange County's coastline after large crowds were seen there. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Beachgoers spread out the day before the beach is scheduled to close during the coronavirus outbreak, Thursday, April 30, 2020, in Newport Beach, Calif. California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday temporarily closed Orange County's coastline after large crowds were seen there. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)(Mark J. Terrill/AP)

A California city council has voted to file a lawsuit challenging Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order to shut down beaches — his latest move to protect residents from the fast-spreading coronavirus.
The Huntington Beach City Council voted 5-2 to sue the state of California on Thursday, with officials arguing citizens had already done their part to curb the global pandemic, CBS Los Angeles reported. Those in favor questioned whether the governor had such authority and argued the state has already gone to great lengths to flatten its coronavirus curve.
“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.”
Newsom earlier this week scolded residents for flouting lockdown rules and guidelines implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19 before shuttering Orange County beaches.
Calling it a “temporary pause,” he told reporters the beaches could reopen quickly “if we can get some framework and guidelines to get this right.”
While authorities said beachgoers largely observed social distancing rules, the governor warned that defying the state’s stay at home order could delay its reopening.
"This virus doesn't take the weekends off. This virus doesn't go home. We have to manage and augment our behavior," Newsom said Monday. "The only thing that will set us back is people stopping practicing physical distancing."

The state on Tuesday additionally announced a plan to phase in reopening but is in no rush to return to normalcy at the risk of public health. Newsom said California remains in the first phase of its strategy — staying home — while opening retail businesses and schools is still “weeks away.”

As of Friday, California had nearly 50,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, including nearly 2,000 deaths.

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