Easter weekend traditions throughout SoCal shut down amid pandemic

Many parks and recreation sites in Southern California will be closed on Easter Sunday to prevent large crowds from gathering during the coronavirus pandemic.
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Easter weekend outdoor traditions will be halted this year in most of Southern California, as in many other communities across the country, by continued efforts to flatten the curve.

Signs throughout Orange, Los Angeles and Ventura Counties announced expansions of closure orders in some public recreation areas.

A swell hitting the OC coast just days before the holiday had surfers and body boarders taking on waves at the Wedge in Newport Beach and spectators gathering to enjoy the show.

City of Newport Beach Fire Department lifeguard and battalion chief Brian O'Rourke was patrolling the area Friday.

"We were seeing that the last couple days because it's very impressive to come down and watch these waves and these guys and these girls tackle these big swells, but we're preventing a gathering point and we're encouraging social distancing and also staying at home," he said.

The result of increased crowds was surf's down, and fence up at at the world-famous surfing hotspot to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The closure from the jetty to M Street started the Friday before Easter and was scheduled to continue until further notice.

From 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. no one is allowed to hang out on the sand and no floatation devices can hit the water.

The boardwalk and parking lot remained closed there, much like other lots at parks, trails and beaches throughout the rest of Orange County.

Los Angeles County took on a more stringent approach closing all parks, lakes and botanical gardens on Easter Sunday, in addition to beach, trail and playground closures already in place.

Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti made the announcement Wednesday.

"We'll have park rangers and LAPD out there. We can't be everywhere at all times, so I'm counting on all of you. And I know that your heart breaks - like so many of the things that we've had to do this is such a fun moment for our kids, this is such a great tradition that many families have, but we can't afford to have one cluster of just even a few people together," Garcetti said.

The city of Oxnard in Ventura County also took restrictions to the next level on Easter weekend.

Signs up Friday announced all beaches and parks would close Saturday and Sunday, warning that failure to comply with the order may result in citations.

In the city of Santa Ana, police announced they would conduct zero-tolerance enforcement during a popular Easter car cruise, if it happened. The warning said road closures, lane restrictions and extra officers in uniform were in place to deal with any large crowds or traffic congestion like they've seen in past years.
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