SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Gov. Gavin Newsom on Tuesday announced he has reached an agreement with Orange County leaders to reopen beaches in the cities of Huntington Beach, Dana Point, and Seal Beach in a modified way.
The governor said the agreement was done in “the spirit of collaboration and partnership.”
Beaches reopened Tuesday in the cities of San Clemente and Laguna Beach for recreational purposes, which allows for social distancing. Newsom said the agreement with the additional three beach cities has a similar commitment to protocols and procedures.
The agreement marks significant progress after Newsom and O.C. officials were in constant conflict just last week.
Last week, Newsom announced a hard closure of all Orange County beaches after seeing images of overcrowded beaches.
His order garnered a strong response from officials and residents.
Newport Beach Police Chief Jon Lewis and Newport Beach Fire Chief Jeff Boyles issued a joint statement after the order was issued and said the images were not representative of what they saw. They said they observed, "from land and by air" that the vast majority of beachgoers were practicing social distancing.
Last Thursday, the Huntington Beach City Council voted 5-2 to file a lawsuit challenging Newsom's orders to shut down all of Orange County's beaches. The order was set to take effect on May 1.
On Friday, Judge Nathan Scott then declined to issue a temporary restraining order to halt Gov. Newsom's executive order.
Also on Friday, thousands gathered in Huntington Beach while protesting Newsom's pandemic restrictions.
During Tuesday's briefing, Newsom further detailed how California businesses can reopen Friday under new physical distancing guidelines, saying businesses must reopen under a "safe and judicious way."
Newsom credits Californians for obeying social distancing orders. He said it has helped flatten the curve in a "meaningful and significant way."
Newsom said more testing, the ability to track, isolate and quarantine has allowed for better information and allowed the state to move into its second phase of reopening the economy.
HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA - APRIL 16: People spread out on the beach near 22nd Street in Huntington Beach, CA on Thursday, April 16, 2020. Huntington Beach is one of the few that have stayed open since the stay at home orders for COVID-19 (coronavirus). (
“Businesses are not just about dollars and cents, they’re about community,” Newsom said.
Newsom said he emphasizes with small business owners and said he can understand the devastation owners feel with their businesses being at risk as a result of the pandemic.
The governor also said the second phase of the reopening process "doesn’t mean we’re going back to normal, but a new normal," until there is a coronavirus vaccine.
“It is not a question of if, it is not a question of when, it is a question of how…how we go about reopening will define whether or not we can move with effectiveness to the next stages and open up more. Or whether or not we are going to have to take a small step, a medium step, or worst case, a big step backward," Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said during Tuesday's briefing.
Newsom also said more California businesses were set to receive funds as part of the second round of the PPP program as part of the CARES Act.