California Beaches Reopening in Orange County After Gov. Gavin Newsom Reverses 'Hard Closure' in Stage 2 Plan

Getty Images Orange County Beach
An aerial view shows Huntington Pier and a lightly-populated beach as beachgoers, sheriffs and police ignore the state-mandated beach closure on May 1, 2020 in Huntington Beach, California. David McNew/Getty Images

California could move into phase two of a reopening plan, with Governor Gavin Newsom making an executive order to the State Public Health department asking for criteria to reopen the state.

In an update provided yesterday to Californians, Gov. Newsom announced that the stay at home order can be modified from May 8, with guidelines being released on May 7. According to a statement, the state of California has made progress in fighting the coronavirus in a number of categories such as stabilized hospitalization and ICU numbers, as well as acquiring personal protective equipment (PPE).

"Millions of Californians answered the call to stay home and thanks to them, we are in a position to begin moving into our next stage of modifying our stay at home order," said Gov. Newsom. "But make no mistake—this virus isn't gone. It's still dangerous and poses a significant public health risk.

"As we move into the next stage of reopening, we will do so with updated guidance to help qualifying businesses make modifications needed to lower the risk of COVID-19 exposure to customers and workers. Californians should prepare now for that second stage of reopening."

According to the State report card issued by the governor, California is meeting metrics in testing capacity, health care surge capacity and contact tracing capability. The California Department of Public Health director and state public health officer Dr. Sonia Angell presented the state's Report Card to help people understand the data driving the move into the next stage.

Getty Images Orange County Beach
An aerial view shows Huntington Pier and a lightly-populated beach as beachgoers, sheriffs and police ignore the state-mandated beach closure on May 1, 2020 in Huntington Beach, California. Nearby, a predominantly mask-less crowd of protesters called to reopen businesses and beaches as the growing the coronavirus pandemic continues to cripple the economy. in reaction to the big crowds gathered together at Huntington and other Orange County beaches, California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered a temporary closure of beaches in Orange County just before May Day. Orange County officials want the beaches re-opened. In Los Angeles County, beaches remain closed under social-distancing mandates to fight the spread of virus that causes COVID-19. David McNew/Getty Images

In moving forward with contact tracing, the governor also announced a partnership with the University of California, San Francisco and the University of California, Los Angeles to immediately begin training workers for a landmark program that will help contain the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. According to the announcement, the partnership will include a virtual training academy for contact tracers, with the first 20-hour training beginning on May 6. The goal is to train 20,000 individuals in two months.

California has tested 747,874 people for COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University. To date, 2,289 people have died. The U.S. as a whole has confirmed 1,180,634 cases of coronavirus, according to the latest figures—the highest number across the globe. The death total currently sites at 68,934, with 187,180 recovered.

What will reopen in phase two?

While guidelines will not be announced until May 7, the update from Gov. Newsom confirms that some sectors, including some retail, manufacturing and logistics businesses, will be allowed to reopen. Public health guidelines will be released to lower the risk of transmission, with these businesses reopening as soon as May 8, as long as they can meet the criteria.

The report card shows hospitalization numbers stabilizing in the state of California. Office of Governor Gavin Newsom

Some examples of businesses that can open with modifications include bookstores, clothing stores, florists and sporting goods stores. Offices and dine-in restaurants will be part of a later state 2 opening. Shopping malls and schools are not included in this phase—according to Gov. Newsom, the state is working with school districts and the California education community to determine how best to reopen.

Counties can choose to continue more restrictive measures in place based on their local conditions while the new phase is implemented. The governor also said that some counties will also be able to move more quickly through stage 2 if they can attest that they meet the state's readiness criteria.

Beaches Begin to Open in California

According to the L.A. Times, Laguna Beach and San Clemente have received approval to allow public access for active recreation. These activities include swimming, surfing and running on the sand.

Approved yesterday, the plans also include a range of measures to avoid overcrowding and encourage safe social distancing.

"We appreciate the governor's willingness to work with us to provide a responsible, gradual approach to reopening all beaches in Laguna Beach for active recreation," says Mayor Bob Whalen in a statement. "This will allow people the opportunity to walk, jog, swim and surf and get some fresh air and exercise on a limited basis, but not congregate or gather in large groups."

The governor ordered the temporary closing of beaches following social distancing rules being ignored by beachgoers. On May 1, 2020, protestors took to Huntington Beach to demand the reopening of the beach, with the city announcing it would take legal action against Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Getty Images Huntington Beach protest
Children seat in front of the Police cavalry while protestors gather in a demonstration on May 01, 2020 in Huntington Beach, California. The demonstration started after the city announced it would pursue legal action against California Gov. Gavin Newsoms order to close Orange County beaches. Apu Gomes/Getty Images

All figures from Johns Hopkins University unless otherwise stated.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.