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Tens of thousands descend on beaches amid southern California heatwave


Courtesy of Michele Gile on Twitter

(CBS) — Lifeguards in Huntington and Newport Beach, California, say more than 50,000 people flocked to their beaches on Friday, and more are expected on Saturday when temperatures surpass 90 degrees Fahrenheit, CBS Los Angeles reports.

“It’s hot out, and we’re seeing the crowds increase, doubling every day,” said Newport Beach Lifeguard Battalion Chief Brian O’Rourke. “Yesterday we had about 20,000 people. Today I would expect almost double that.”

Orange County is the only county in the area where beaches remain open, as counties north and south of it have shut down their public spaces in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. California Governor Gavin Newsom has temporarily closed some of the state’s parks and beaches to the public and closed vehicle access at all 280 state parks. People aren’t restricted from going to beaches that remain open under the state’s stay-at-home order issued back in March.

Lifeguards and law enforcement are present at the beaches to make sure people are keeping their distance. Lifeguards in Huntington and Newport told CBS Los Angeles that most people have maintained their distance and are spread out along the sand.

Public pools, beach parking lots, piers, and walking and biking paths along the ocean and picnic areas are closed in several Orange County cities.

In San Clemente, California, another oceanside city in Orange County, officials filled in a popular skatepark with 37 tons of sand last week to discourage skaters from using it, CBS Los Angeles reports. The city had shut down all its parks and facilities on April 1 in accordance with California’s stay-at-home order, but city officials said they still saw people visiting the skatepark.

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