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Faulconer says state official told city all beaches would close, hours later reversed

Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration told San Diego city leaders on Wednesday night, April 29, that Newsom would be announcing the closure of all beaches in the state on Thursday, April 30, officials said.

The imminent closure was outlined in a leaked memo that was sent to police chiefs around the state to give them time to plan ahead, The Associated Press reported Wednesday evening, April 29.

The news immediately prompted pushback from San Diego residents and county leaders.

But during his Thursday briefing, Newsom ordered only beaches in Orange County be closed. The announcement was made days after tens of thousands of people flooded that county’s beaches during a sunny weekend.

A state official told San Diego city leaders on Wednesday night, April 29, that Newsom would be announcing the closure of all beaches in the state on Thursday, April 30, officials said.

The imminent closure was outlined in a leaked memo that was sent to police chiefs around the state to give them time to plan ahead, The Associated Press reported Wednesday evening.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer confirmed on Thursday that his office had received a “very clear and very specific” call from a staff member with the state’s Natural Resources Agency who outlined the closure.

The news immediately prompted pushback from San Diego residents and county leaders.

Hours later, during his Thursday briefing, Newsom ordered only beaches in Orange County be closed. The announcement was made days after tens of thousands of people flooded that county’s beaches during a sunny weekend.

When reporters asked what led Newsom to change course, he suggested he never intended to close all beaches.

“That was their memo,” Newsom said. “Their memo never got to me.”

When Faulconer was asked whether he felt Newsom had planned to close all beaches but changed course after public outcry, he said, “We were notified of (the closure) the night before.”

The mayor stressed that San Diego residents should not be punished for making responsible decisions.

“It’s particularly important that people can count on when we put a policy in place and people are following it that we will be consistent,” Faulconer said.

Many of San Diego County’s beaches reopened on Monday, and both local and state officials - including Newsom - have praised residents for adhering to social-distancing guidelines and the state’s stay-at-home order.

-- Lyndsay Winkley is a reporter for The San Diego Union-Tribune


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