NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA) — The Newport Beach City Council voted 5-2 Tuesday to reject a proposed ordinance that would have closed the city’s beaches for the next three weekends.
The council voted on an emergency ordinance, meaning a supermajority vote was needed in order to close the beaches.
“The reports…are that people are social distancing,” Newport Beach City Councilmember Kevin Muldoon said Tuesday.
“I’ve heard from a lot of individuals, most of which support keeping beaches open,” Muldoon said. “They think most people are being responsible. It’s mostly families and those practicing social distancing.”
Over the weekend, 50,000 people hit the sand over and images of packed beaches caused Governor Newsom to criticize people for not staying home.
“Our kids have no school, they have no sports, they need an outlet, and the beach can be a perfect place for it,” said Newport Beach resident Nicole Monteilh Brown.
Other residents are not so supportive of the beaches being open.
“I think it was out of control,” said resident Katherine Weeda. “There were way too many people, they were all on top of each other.”
Another resident, Tamara Ponce, said, “People need to be out we need vitamin D. That’s a part of having a healthy immune system.”
Huntington Beach was waiting to see what Newport Beach’s vote was before deciding whether to close its own beaches.
Crowds of sun-worshippers came to Surf City this past Saturday and Sunday.
If Huntington Beach is the only beach open, that could pose major traffic issues.
“Our residents already struggle with tight parking as is so we do have to think about that,” said Huntington Beach Police Department’s Angie Bennett.
“Even though we have large sand areas on our beaches, the amount of people coming in causes issues for our city,” she said.
Muldoon is applauding the efforts of people in Orange County.
“I think the message we need to get out is don’t be afraid, we’re ahead of the curve, the curve is dropping, fear does not benefit anyone. This is a time for hope, this is a time when we’re planning to open. Stay calm and calm and we’re going to get through it,” he said.
Due to social distancing, only Muldoon was in the chambers along with police officers and staff members, while other council members joined the meeting virtually. Members of the community also spoke virtually to support and oppose the ordinance.
The 3 p.m. meeting lasted several hours before an official vote was made.