Newsom to close all California beaches, state parks over coronavirus: memo

UPDATE: Newsom announced Thursday that only Orange County beaches would close. Read details here.

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom will be closing all beaches and state parks across the state starting Friday to help slow the spread of the coronavirus, according to a memo sent to California police chiefs on Wednesday.

The decision comes after Newsom called out the massive crowds that flocked to Newport Beach in Orange County last weekend during a heat wave.

Newsom called the beach crowds an example of "what not to do" to make progress toward easing restrictions in the statewide stay-at-home order.

“We wanted to give all of our members a heads up about this in order to provide time for you to plan any situations you might expect as a result, knowing each community has its dynamics,” the memo, sent by the California Police Chiefs Association, said.

Many beaches across the state are closed, but some, such as Ventura and Orange Counties, are open and starting to get more people as the weather gets warmer.

The Newport Beach City Council Tuesday voted down a measure that would close the beach for the next three weeks after an estimated 80,000 people flocked to the water over the weekend.

Orange County Supervisor Don Wagner on Wednesday called the order an "overreaction," saying that while he believes Newsom has the power to close the beaches, he thinks it's a bad idea because "medical professionals tell us the importance of fresh air and sunlight in fighting infectious diseases."

He added it will make so far cooperative residents more likely to break the stay-at-home order.

Laguna Beach and some beaches in San Diego County recently reopened for limited use.

Protesters in nearby Huntington Beach demanded the state reopen businesses the weekend before last and the governor's order is likely to fuel frustration from Californians already stir-crazy after more than a month of staying at home.

Since mid-March, 3.7 million Californians have filed for unemployment, more than 47,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed and nearly 2,000 have died of the virus as of Wednesday.

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Fox News reached out to Newsom's office in an after-hours call.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.