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Laguna Beach, San Clemente To Reopen Beaches In Phased Plan

LAGUNA BEACH (CBSLA) - The city of Laguna Beach has received approval from California Gov. Gavin Newsom to reopen its beaches on a staggered basis, officials announced Monday.

Under phase one of the deal, Laguna Beach city beaches will reopen weekdays starting Tuesday from 6 – 10 a.m. for active recreation only.

City beaches will remain closed on weekends.

Calling it an "adaptive management plan" that will see each phase enacted on a trial basis, Laguna city officials say the plan will move to the next phase "only if it believes the activities can be managed to comply with current directives regarding physical distancing and large gatherings."

Among the list of non-permitted activities are "sitting or lying on beach", picnics, gatherings, and "setting up chairs and staying in place".

Beaches in South Laguna are controlled by Orange County and will remain closed until officials submit a plan to the state and receive approval from the Governor's office to reopen county beaches.

"We appreciate the Governor's willingness to work with us to provide a responsible, gradual approach to reopening all beaches in Laguna Beach for active recreation," said Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen. "This will allow people the opportunity to walk, jog, swim and surf and get some fresh air and exercise on a limited basis, but not congregate or gather in large groups."

Beaches in San Clemente will also be reopened for walking, running and other active uses.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors, which oversees most of Dana Point's beaches along with the state, will discuss an active-use plan on Tuesday, but it is unclear if the board will approve or reject the plan.

Earlier Monday, Newport Beach City Councilman Kevin Muldoon filed a federal lawsuit against the state to reopen Orange County's beaches. The complaint alleged the governor's shutdown order violated constitutional rights of freedom to travel and assemble and due process and equal protection.

The announcements come after more than 100 demonstrators took to the streets Saturday in Laguna Beach to protest Newsom's stay-at-home orders.

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