Newport Beach council affirms support for lawsuit filed by OC cities seeking to reopen beaches

Leanne Suter Image
Sunday, May 3, 2020
Orange County beaches remain closed as Newport Beach affirms support for lawsuit
Orange County beaches remained closed Saturday after a special weekend session at the Newport Beach City Council was held, with officials voting to support legal action filed by Huntington Beach and Dana Point to reopen beaches.

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- The Newport Beach City Council on Saturday voted to affirm its support for a lawsuit filed by Huntington Beach, Dana Point and business owners seeking to reopen Orange County beaches after a shutdown order was issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The city council's action, which came during an emergency meeting, "affirms an amicus brief filed by the City of Newport Beach - along with declarations from the City Manager, Police Chief, Fire Chief, and a senior Recreation & Senior Services official - supporting the litigation," according to a news release.

The statement said Newport Beach will continue to "do everything possible to safely reopen the city's beaches," which remained closed and mostly deserted Saturday.

Newport Beach officials said Newsom announced his directive on Thursday without seeking the city's input on beach safety or a weekend plan that had already been in place. The public safety plan had been crafted by officials from the Newport Beach police, fire and lifeguard departments.

In Huntington Beach, barricades were blocking the bike path after the governor ordered all Orange County beaches shut down.

Authorities were out in force making sure everyone complied with the beach closure. There was a long stretch of empty sand on the beach -- a far different scene from last weekend when tens of thousands headed to the coast.

Authorities were keeping a close eye on Orange County beaches on Saturday, which remain officially closed after a judge rejected bids by Dana Point and Huntington Beach officials to lift Gov. Gavin Newsom's temporary shutdown.

The closure once again drew protesters on Saturday demanding the beaches be reopened. In Los Alamitos, several dozen people gathered to make their voices heard, angry the stay-at-home order remains in place.

Many say the governor's action went too far.

"We are all impatient," the governor said during his daily briefing on Friday. "We have to be really deliberative on how we reopen this economy."

Newsom noted the state just passed the grim marks of 50,000 confirmed infections and 2,000 deaths but that hospitalization statistics are heading in a better direction and that has him hopeful.

Judge denies request to overturn Gov. Newsom's Orange County beach closure for now

At least two Orange County cities are filing legal action to fight Gov. Gavin Newsom's order closing the county's beaches.