Huntington Beach mayor says California gov's decision to close beaches was 'arbitrary': I wish he had called me first

Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.

California Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom's decision to close Orange County beaches was not based on coronavirus data, Huntington Beach Mayor Lyn Semeta asserted Monday night.

In an interview on "The Story" with host Martha MacCallum, Semeta -- a Republican -- said that she had evidence her city's residents were following social distancing guidelines and safety protocol when they went out for a day in the sun.

CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE

"We have aerial photographs. We have our marine safety officers and our police on the beaches telling us last weekend that, in fact, the vast majority of the people were social distancing. And so, when we received the order from the governor to close the beaches -- only the beaches in Orange County -- quite frankly we were surprised," she remarked.

"I wish that he had called me and asked me to share with him what the real situation was," Semeta added. "And instead, I think he looked at photographs that were put out there by media outlets and made a decision based on that which was an arbitrary decision in our view."

A protestor holds a hand painted sign on a surfboard during a May Day demonstration at the pier, Friday, May 1, 2020, in Huntington Beach, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

A protestor holds a hand painted sign on a surfboard during a May Day demonstration at the pier, Friday, May 1, 2020, in Huntington Beach, Calif. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

According to Fox News 11, the Huntington Beach City Council voted 5-2 Thursday night to file a lawsuit challenging Newsom's order.

Dana Point would also be joining in the fight against the Orange County beach closure order.

Last week, a memo sent to all police departments in the state saying Newsom was set to announce a full closure of all beaches in the state was leaked to the public and a backlash ensued. However, last Thursday, during a news briefing from the governor, Newsom singled out Orange County only after photos of a busy beach over the weekend sparked concerns over COVID-19.

On Friday, Judge Nathan Scott declined to issue a temporary restraining order to stop Newsom's executive order. That said, Scott did issue an order to Newsom's attorneys for them to provide a cause.

The next hearing is set for Monday, May 11.

On Monday, Newsom reported beaches in San Clemente and Laguna Beach will be re-opened as the state prepares to enter phase 2 of its coronavirus re-opening plan by the end of the week.

"We have filed a challenge, a constitutional challenge, joined by a couple of other cities here in Orange County and we will be pursuing that," Semeta told MacCallum. "As I said, we feel like its an overreach constitutionally. It wasn't based on data and all along the governor has been saying that decisions will be made on restrictions, on lifting restrictions, based on data. And, the data just doesn't bear that out. In fact, Orange County really should be looked at as a model for how to manage this crisis."

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

"We're going to get those beaches open," she promised.

"But, in the meantime, we think it's important to get that question answered: whether that was an overreach of the authority by the governor given the fact that...that the data shows Orange County -- while we're the third largest county -- we have the smallest numbers," Semeta concluded. "One death is too many, of course. But, if you want to look at data, we have the third-lowest death rates in the Southern California area."