Press release from the Humboldt County Joint Information Center:

Sheriff William Honsal expressed appreciation for Governor Newsom’s decision to keep beaches in Humboldt County open and limit closures to parts of Southern California.

Sheriff Honsal said, “I’m grateful the governor didn’t move forward with a plan that would have unnecessarily and arbitrarily restricted access to our coastline,” adding he supports the need to balance public health and safety with the rights of individuals protected under the state and federal constitutions. “Closing beaches in areas where people weren’t following social distancing is a more appropriate response than a statewide closure,” Honsal said.

A state-mandated beach closure order was being considered by the governor as a response to crowds gathering last weekend on two Southern California beaches. Sheriff Honsal and Humboldt County Health Officer Dr. Teresa Frankovich both reached out to state officials to express their opposition to the proposed order. The governor announced at a noon press conference that the closure order would apply only to areas around Orange County.

Dr. Frankovich said, “This really is the right move for Humboldt County. The Governor himself pointed out our success at practicing social distancing measures locally. We can continue to build on that success without sacrificing access to our beaches.”

Officials emphasized that the county’s existing Shelter-in-Place Order would remain in full effect, and any crowding of parking areas, beach areas or trails would not be tolerated. Sheriff Honsal said, “We will enforce the local order to keep people safe and encourage social distancing, but Humboldt County’s residents shouldn’t pay the price for the irresponsible behavior of people 700 miles away from here.”

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