Huntington Beach

City to fight beach closure in court

AN AERIAL photo of a beach scene in Huntington Beach (HBPD photo).

The City of Huntington Beach will go to court to fight Gov. Gavin Newsom’s order to close all Orange County beaches.

On a 5-2 vote – with councilmembers Kim Carr and Barbara Delgleize opposed – the council voted to direct City Attorney Michael Gates to “pursue any and all legal actions necessary to challenge the state’s beach closure directive.”

“Given that Orange County has among the lowest per capita COVID-19 death rates in California, the action 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,” said Mayor Lyn Semeta.

Dana Point and Newport Beach city councils also moved to challenge the directive.

The governor issued his order Thursday after a weekend in which – according to one estimate – as many as 80,000 people visited Orange County beaches, including those in Newport and Huntington.

“Temporary beach closures in Orange County will help ensure continued progress in limiting the spread of the virus,” wrote Mark Ghilarducci, director of the governor’s Office of Emergency Services,” in a letter to the city council.

Despite the planned legal action, the city will comply with the order, closing its beaches starting Friday.  Shut down will be bike paths, boat ramps, restrooms, parking lots and associated recreational amenities. Activities such as sunbathing, walking, running and water sports will be prohibitive.

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