Despite some stay-home orders, warm California weather draws crowds outdoors

National News

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A spring heat wave drove an uptick of people to California beaches, golf courses and trails, leading to the closure of one coastal park as authorities warned people not to swarm recreational areas for fear of igniting a deadly coronavirus surge.

Temperatures soared into the 80s and 90s in many areas from Sacramento to San Diego on Saturday.

While most recreation remains shuttered under various stay-at-home orders, officials are wary that those still open could draw crowds that will ignore social distancing rules and seek sun and air after being mainly confined indoors for more than a month.

“We’re seeing a summer day crowd,” said Brian O’Rourke, a lifeguard battalion chief in Newport Beach in Orange County, which saw an estimated 40,000 people on Friday. A similar crowd was expected Saturday as the fog burns off.

Police in Pacific Grove said they had to close the picturesque Lovers Point Park and Beach at the southern end of Monterey Bay because of a lack of social distancing.

Los Angeles city and county beaches, trails and playgrounds were closed, and officers on horseback were patrolling those areas to enforce social distancing rules. The city also opened cooling centers for people “who might not be able to survive the heat wave at home,” Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

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