Despite several warnings by the government, crowds packed California beaches, hiking trails and parks over the weekend in open defiance of a state order to shelter in place and avoid close contact with others. Seeing the people breaking the rules of quarantine, California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a shelter in place order directing the state's nearly 40 million residents to stay home beginning March 20 to help stop the spread of coronavirus.The instructions also led to the closure of many public spaces like parks, recreation areas, and beaches where the intensity of is more.
Video and photos on social media showed groups of people standing in close contact with one another at popular hiking trails and beaches in Los Angeles over the weekend. Health officials urge people to maintain a distance of 6 feet from one another to prevent transmission of the highly contagious virus. In response to the crowds, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced on Twitter late Sunday that he was closing sports and recreation at all LA City Parks. He also tweeted that parking at city beaches was closed. "This weekend we saw too many people packing beaches, trails, and parks," the Mayor tweeted. He said people should heed the closures and stay home.
This weekend we saw too many people packing beaches, trails and parks. So we are closing sports and recreation at @LACityParks and closing parking at city beaches. That doesn’t mean gather elsewhere. This is serious. Stay home and save lives.— Mayor Eric Garcetti (@MayorOfLA) March 23, 2020
Garcetti also told local media that he was working with officials in neighbouring cities and the county to address large crowds at beaches. Meanwhile, the city of Santa Monica closed its beach parking Sunday to deter people from flocking to the beach. Apart from this, nearby, the city of Malibu issued additional guidance urging residents to maintain a safe distance if they were heading outside for a hike or to go to the beach. City-owned parks and trails also were closed to the public.
Further south, the city of Long Beach closed many of its recreation facilities. On Sunday night, Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said in a tweet that the city had closed skate parks, dog parks, playgrounds, picnic areas as well as volleyball, tennis and basketball courts. The city is trying to discourage people from playing team sports and encourage them to maintain a social distance of 6 feet when utilizing city facilities.
To be clear, the Governor and City’s order does allow people to go for a walk or visit a park or beach. However, you must still use social distancing. You can’t play team sports, and you must stay 6 feet apart from anyone else.— Mayor Robert Garcia (@LongBeachMayor) March 22, 2020
More signs are going up at beaches and courts, and we will look to enforce more - but our public safety teams are incredibly busy. We need the public to take self responsibility and remember that our doctors, nurses, and medical personnel are counting on us.— Mayor Robert Garcia (@LongBeachMayor) March 22, 2020