Los Angeles County, California may allow beaches to reopen next Friday, public officials say. California has struggled with opening its beaches and with managing the crowds enjoying the sunshine, but the Director of the County Department of Public Health, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, said that L.A. County may take another shot at reopening in her daily coronavirus pandemic press conference on Friday. If all goes well, the beaches may be opened on May 15.
Ferrer was hopeful but non-committal on the subject of reopening beaches this week, according to a report by Deadline. She noted that it would be up to residents to follow the rules closely, and their behavior would determine how the state's beaches look going forward. "We're going to pay attention to how you all do this weekend," she said. "If things go well, next week we'd like to come back with some additional lifting of restrictions. We're looking forward to hopefully getting there by next week."
Ferrer's hopeful words follow the controversial closures then reopening of Huntington Beach and and other public beaches in Orange County. It also comes after L.A. County decided to reopen hiking trails this weekend — provided residents maintain social distance and wear masks. "You do need to stay six feet apart, and you do need to have a cloth face covering," Ferrer said.
While a few outdoor recreation areas are reopening, some are not. L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti confirmed on Wednesday that the iconic Runyon Canyon trail will stay closed. However, Griffith Park trails will be open, signaling an urge to reopen even in California — a state that initially had one of the strongest stay-at-home orders in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
While L.A. County may be looking for ways to relax restrictions, California has a whole is not. On Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom extended many of the impending deadlines on the stay-at-home order, in most cases for at least 60 days.
So far, the U.S. has seen over 1.33 million cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, with 79,254 deaths at the time of this writing. California has had over 62,500 cases, with 2,585 deaths so far. Worldwide, there have been over 3.99 million cases of the virus, over 277,000 deaths, and over 1.35 million confirmed recoveries. For the latest information on the coronavirus pandemic, visit the websites of the CDC and the World Health Organization.