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There's no way to completely eradicate the coronavirus in the state of California, so Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom should loosen restrictions for a small percentage of people instead of risking losing his goodwill by "being petty" about Orange County beach closures, radio talk show host Mike Slater advised Saturday.
Appearing on "Fox & Friends Weekend" with hosts Pete Hegseth, Jillian Mele, and Jason Chaffetz, Slater pointed out that even if there were 10,000 people at the beach in Orange County and the "vast, vast, vast majority" were following health and safety protocol, that's still only "0.3 percent of the county."
"You have 99.7 percent compliance. Almost everyone's on board with you. Don't risk that by being petty and losing maybe 30, 40, 50 percent of the people who are kind of on the fence but still doing what you suggest we do," he urged. "Don't be petty."
On Thursday, Newsom ordered Orange County beaches to close until further notice, saying it was necessary to protect public health while allowing other beaches in California to remain open with some restrictions.
Thursday’s announcement comes days after tens of thousands of people in Orange County packed beaches during a sunny weekend.
A Wednesday memo to the state's police chiefs indicated Newsom planned to close all beaches in the state. But on Thursday, Newsom said the order applied only to beaches in Orange County.
“We want you to see sunsets,” Newsom said, according to SFGate. “We want you to enjoy activities outdoors. What they don’t want is people congregating outside in large groups.”
However, many state and local municipalities have been less than pleased with Newsom's restrictive measures.
Huntington Beach and Dana Point city councils voted in emergency sessions on Thursday to take legal action against the governor, arguing it should be up to local leaders and not the Democratic governor to decide when it's safe to return and officials in Modoc County reported it can no longer afford to abide by Newsom's shelter-in-place response.
"Yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom closed 43 miles of Orange County beaches, not because of data, but because of politics," he said. "In our local hospital, we have 475 beds. They have never treated more than 25 people at any given time, and yesterday they had nine people that they were treating, and only one percent of their ventilators were being used."
Just one day after Newsom's closures, hundreds of protesters flooded Huntington Beach to demonstrate against the action.
Holding signs with slogans such as, “Open Cali Now,” “All Jobs are Essential” and “Surfing Not a Crime/Newsom is a Kook,” as they took to the street, the protesters -- many without face masks and not practicing social distancing -- backed up traffic along the Pacific Coast Highway for at least a mile.
Slater told the "Friends Weekend" hosts he wasn't sure how necessary the lockdown is anymore.
"Listen, if we remember, the whole point about flattening the curve wasn't to end the virus or to prevent everyone from getting sick ever again. It was to flatten the curve. And, praise God, we are so far under that health care capacity in California, it's amazing. I think it's definitely time that we can allow some people to go out and do some things, right?" he asked.
"I don't think everyone is going to go rush back and do everything they were doing before," added Slater.
"And, I think it will be like a nice natural bell curve. Because again, we're not going to prevent everyone from getting this virus. So, let the 2 percent of people go out and do some things if they want," he urged.
"In fairness," Mele interjected, "some people don't abide by the social distancing guidelines and they ruin it and it might be a small group of people and then they ruin it for a larger number of people."
"Yeah," Slater responded. "But, I think it's okay to do that because it is such a small number of people. Again, we are not going to kill the virus. We're not going to stop everyone from getting it. Let a couple [of] people go."
"We are so far under that health care capacity line. It's okay. We don't need to be acting today as if it is March 10th. We have learned enough over the last two months that we can change our behavior a little bit," he concluded.