Beaches in Los Angeles County will be closed on Independence Day weekend after a spike in Coronavirus cases. According to L.A. County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer, the move is crucial.
“We all need to take this virus more seriously and residents and business owners must do their part,” Ferrer said. “Physical distancing isn’t optional, wearing a face-covering isn’t optional, spending time only with those you live with isn’t optional — these are requirements in the Health Officer Order and are the tools we have to protect each other, our families and those most vulnerable in our communities.”
Public beaches, beach parking lots, piers, and bike paths along beaches will be shuttered from 12:01 a.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday. Fireworks have also been banned over the Fourth of July weekend.
Authorities are well aware that the move will be upsetting to many. “I know how much we look forward to this time of year,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said on Monday evening. “But not this year. This year we have to think about saving lives to protect what we have in this country … and to make sure our economy doesn’t take more steps backward.”
Garcetti went on to explain that, if Los Angeles’s rate of spread continues as it is now, “Los Angeles will revert to numbers reached at the height of the pandemic in about a week.” As well as closing the beaches, Garcetti told reporters that there’s a “hard pause” on reopening any more businesses. On Sunday, Governor Newsom ordered that Los Angeles County bars and nightclubs close.
“It’s been clear around the country these are big public health threats,” Garcetti said of Newsom’s closure order. “These are already dangerous clusters. These are regularly the spaces where spread is happening. It seemed clear what was coming.”
According to County Supervisor Janice Hahn, L.A. County recorded nearly 3,000 cases on Monday alone. ” We cannot risk having crowds at the beach this holiday weekend,” she tweeted. That is the highest number of new infections the county has reported since the pandemic began its march through the United States.
According to The New York Times, “Los Angeles County, which has been averaging more than 2,000 new cases each day, surpassed 100,000 total cases on Monday.” Governor Newsom said the number of people hospitalized in California had leaped 43 percent over the past two weeks. On Monday, Los Angeles County surpassed 100,000 total cases. Local health officials reported that one in every 140 people are infected.
“To some extent I think our luck may have run out,” Dr. Bob Wachter, a professor and chair of the department of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, told The New York Times. “This is faster and worse than I expected. You have to have a ton of respect for this thing. It is nasty and it just lurks and waits to stomp on you if you let your guard down for a second.”