Newsom moves to limit beach, park access to slow coronavirus


SACRAMENTO, California (AP) — Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday he would close parking lots at dozens of beaches and state parks to prevent the spread of coronavirus after large groups flocked to the coast and mountains to get outdoors on the first weekend since the state’s stay-at-home order took effect.

Newsom reaffirmed he would like to use social pressure to get people to maintain a buffer around each other and is not inclined to have his stay-at-home rule enforced by police. But he said cutting off access to places where people congregated under sunny skies was intended to “help you help yourself.”

“Normally that would light up my heart to see tens of thousands of people congregating down in Malibu and other parts of our beautiful state,” he said. “One cannot condemn that, but one can criticize it. We need to practice common sense and socially distance.”

Newsom’s stay home order allowed residents to exercise, but he said they tested the limits by packing trails, bike paths and beaches over the weekend.

Local officials had already moved to close parking at the state’s best-known beaches in Malibu, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco in effort to curb crowds. Parks in scenic Marin County, north of San Francisco, were closed and access was restricted to many of the trails in the Santa Monica Mountains that run through Los Angeles County.

Newsom’s order extends to about 40 parks in five counties, including Topanga State Park in Los Angeles County, Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve in San Diego and Sonoma Coast State Park north of San Francisco.

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