UNITED STATES – “The virus is not resting at weekends”: annoyed by the thousands of people who rushed to California beaches that remained open, the state governor raised his voice on Monday 27 April, emphasizing the effectiveness of containment instructions to contain the coronavirus.
Thanks to temperatures exceeding 30 ° C, many Californians confined for five weeks flocked on Saturday April 25 and Sunday April 26 on beaches of Orange and Ventura counties, as you can see in the video above. They were not closed by local authorities, unlike those in the neighboring county of Los Angeles.
This was particularly the case at Huntington Beach, a republican stronghold located some 50 km south of Los Angeles. « This is the first time I’ve been out since March 23, » said AFP Amy Hughes. « I do what I have to do. We keep our distance, but life must go on, ”said the young woman. “We are in an open space, we stay 2 meters from the others. And then, it’s getting hotter and warmer … ”pleaded Andrew Matthew.
Most of the visitors were not wearing masks, but respected social distancing measures, confirmed the local authorities, who recalled the instructions, but did not verbalize.
Car parks bordering Orange County beaches are closed to prevent a massive influx of visitors, but frequentation of the beaches is not strictly prohibited, a local sheriff spokeswoman said. They remain open to the promenade for residents, even if static tanning and sandcastles are theoretically not in order.
« I’m worried »
The bargain drew many residents from the neighboring counties of Los Angeles and San Diego, where the beaches, which have been under police surveillance for more than a month, were deserted this weekend.
« Not only do the people who come not respect the confinement rules in their neighborhood, they don’t even stay in their own county, » said Lisa Bartlett, elected member of Orange County. « With good weather, it will become problematic, » she believes.
« I’m worried, » echoed John Swartzberg, an infectious disease specialist from the University of California at Berkeley. « If people who go to the beach can assure that they stay more than two meters away from others and don’t touch anything … then that’s fine. But I think it’s extremely unlikely to happen, ”warned the expert, interviewed by the LA Times.
“These images that we saw this weekend (…) are the very example of what we do not want to see, what we should not do if we want to continue the significant progress made in recent weeks, « said Governor Gavin Newsom at a media availability.
However, he said that despite these unfortunate « exceptions », the rules had been followed in « the overwhelming majority » of the state with 40 million inhabitants.
California quickly implemented widespread containment measures, which helped contain the spread of the coronavirus and prevent congestion in hospitals, which has resulted in many deaths, experts said.
To date, some 45,000 cases of coronavirus and nearly 1,800 deaths have been recorded in California, a relatively modest record for a state that was one of the main foci at the start of the health crisis. “The only thing that can make us regress is that people stop respecting social distancing. This is the only thing that will slow our ability to reopen the economy, « said Governor Newsom.
Although he raised his voice, Gavin Newsom said, however, that he wanted to give priority to education over repression at this stage. « I think it’s a better approach. If someone has lost their job, the last thing they want is to be fined while taking their dog for a walk or when they are at the beach with the family, « argued the governor, who said does not exclude sanctions for those who abuse “and endanger the lives of others”.
The lifting of the containment measures will be very gradual and will not take place for several weeks, repeated Newsom.
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