With Los Angeles County Beaches closed, thousands of people headed to Orange County for sun, fun, and pandemic relief.
By William Torres
With Los Angeles County Beaches closed, thousands of people headed to Orange County beaches for sun, fun, and pandemic relief.
Despite the “Stay at Home” order Gov. Gavin Newsom issued on Mar. 19, California’s sweltering heat encouraged thousands of people to leave their homes and enjoy their weekend at the beaches of Orange County.
Everyone at the beach seemed like they were having the time of their lives. Groups of two or more were tanning, swimming, playing volleyball, and hundreds of surfers were riding the waves. It was a perfect weekend to be out at the beach despite California coronavirus cases surpassing 42,000 and the death toll at 1,700.
Emma Halfenberg and Madison Tanap have been quarantined together in Seal Beach, Calif. They decided Saturday was a great day to come out of quarantine and go to the beach.
“It’s a beautiful day,” Halfenberg said. “The beach is a place we would always come together.”
Los Angeles County Beaches are closed, but not neighboring Orange County. Beachgoers took advantage of idyllic weather as the temperature hovered around 75-degrees.
“Yeah, it’s a place we like to spend time together and today was a perfect day to do it,” Tanap said.
From the outside point of view, it seems visitor is not worried about contracting the virus, but Emma and Madison are still taking the coronavirus seriously.
“Of course, we’re scared,” Halfenberg said. “You hear coronavirus every day on the news, radios, and conversations, but we have to take precautions when we go to public places”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has published guidelines for preventing Covid-19. This includes six feet distance from other people and wearing a mask in public places at all times.
Unfortunately, on Saturday, some people were not following the six feet rule. No one was wearing a mask at the beach, and bathrooms were open to the public.
“It’s not the worry of us, it’s the worry of other people who don’t follow the guidelines that scare us,” Tanap said.
Since Covid-19 has become a global pandemic, it has claimed the lives of over 205,607 people around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) states the virus spreads mainly from person-to-person, causing flu symptoms and death. Anyone with respiratory problems should not be exposed to the virus.
Seventeen-year-old Madison suffers from rumination syndrome, a condition in which people repeatedly and unintentionally regurgitate undigested or partially digested food from the stomach, and then either re-swallow it or spit it out.
She is more at risk of contracting the virus because rumination syndrome lowers her immune system, yet, she was out with Anderson, another teen, enjoying the 93-degree weather with thousands of other people.
“If you take extra precaution and prevent yourself from being around other people who could give it to you, it’s a risk we were willing to take,” she said.
Madison wasn’t the only one willing to take the risk. Ten-thousand people went to Huntington Beach on Saturday, April 25, according to the L.A. Times.
But why did so many people flock to Huntington Beach?
“It’s the only beach that is open,” Anderson said.
Most of Southern California has done a great job flattening the curve of the virus by keeping parks and beaches closed. Orange County and Ventura County have
Both counties have kept their beaches open during quarantine with guidelines and restrictions, including keeping parking lots closed to discourage outside visitors and limit crowds
According to to CNN, authorities in both counties reported excellent behavior by beachgoers.
Lifeguard battalion chief, Brain O’ Rourke has been working five days this week at Huntington Beach and hasn’t seen anyone break any rules.
“People are being very cooperative and observing the social distance rules,” O’Rourke said.
A few miles away from Orange County, beaches in Los Angeles looked abandoned. The L.A. County Sheriff reminded everyone on twitter that enforcement is in full effect.
“My compliments to our community for staying away from the beaches in LA,” Los Angeles Police Chief Michael Moore said Saturday on Twitter. “From Malibu, Santa Monica, to Dockweiler- All Clear!”