Newsom expected to close all California beaches after weekend crowds

Throngs of people headed to beaches in Southern California during a weekend heat wave.
Heat Waves in Southern California
Thousands of beach-goers enjoy a warm, sunny day at the beach amid state-mandated stay-at-home and social distancing mandate to stave off the coronavirus pandemic in Huntington Beach, Calif., on April 25, 2020.Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

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By Andrew Blankstein and Dennis Romero

The California Police Chiefs Association told members in an email Wednesday that Gov. Gavin Newsom will announce Thursday that all beaches would be closed as of May 1 to prevent the kind of crowding seen over the weekend, when warm weather prompted thousands to flock to the Orange County coastline.

State parks are also expected to be closed.

The email, which appeared to include a memo, was confirmed to NBC News by two law enforcement sources.

"After the well-publicized media coverage of over-crowded beaches this past weekend, in violation of Governor Newsom's Shelter in Place Order, the Governor will be announcing tomorrow that ALL beaches and all state parks in California will be closed, effective Friday May 1st," the police chiefs' memo states.

It said the association wanted to give departments an opportunity to prepare for the closure.

Newsom said at a news conference Wednesday that "Clarity will come in a very short period of time" regarding beaches and parks.

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On Tuesday, Newsom outlined four phases for reopening the state's economy following stay-at-home orders designed to slow the spread of coronavirus. But he said getting people back out will take weeks.

Over the weekend, large crowds took to the shoreline at Newport Beach and Huntington Beach after they were reopened.

Newsom expressed his displeasure with the Southern California crowds Monday, saying, "This virus doesn’t take the weekends off. This virus doesn’t go home because it’s a beautiful sunny day around our coasts."

Florida also grappled with crowded beaches after Gov. Ron DeSantis allowed local jurisdictions to decide which stretches of coast could be open to the public.

Todd Miyazawa contributed.