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OC City Councils Vote To Challenge Gov. Newsom's Order To Close Orange County Beaches

HUNTINGTON BEACH (CBSLA) — Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Dana Point city councils voted Thursday to challenge Governor Gavin Newsom's orders to temporarily close all Orange County beaches beginning Friday.

Huntington Beach City Council plans to file an injunction challenging the constitutionality of the governor's order to close the beaches.

"Huntington Beach has never been one to just roll over and take these mandates from the governor," said Huntington Beach City Attorney Michael Gates. "We're going to be fighting the order on a constitutional basis. We're fighting for the city. We're fighting for our decision makers locally who have done a good job managing this crisis. We're also fighting for the citizens of Huntington Beach."

Thursday afternoon, Newport Beach City Council held an emergency meeting on the governor's orders. Councilman Kevin Muldoon has introduced a motion to join with other O.C. cities in filing litigation.

Dana Point City Council voted to join the other cities and seek a temporary restraining order to stop the state.

"The City Council voted to pursue litigation against Governor Newsom, challenging his order that all Orange County beaches, but no other beaches in the state, be closed," Dana Point City Attorney Patrick Munoz said. " The city will be seeking a temporary restraining order asking the court to enjoin his order until a full hearing on the merits of the matter can occur."

The governor announced a "hard closure" of all state and local beaches in Orange County.

"We're gonna do a hard close in that part of the state, just in the O.C. area," Newsom said.

Newsom called the focused closure a "temporary pause." After thousands flocked to O.C. beaches over the weekend, CBS News Wednesday had obtained a memo which seemed to indicate that Newsom may shut down all beaches statewide. However, that was not the case.

"Specific issues on some of those (Orange County) beaches have raised alarm bells," Newsom said. "People that are congregating there that weren't practicing physical distancing that may go back to their community outside of O.C. and may not even though that they contracted the disease."

Huntington Beach Mayor Lyn Semeta said she was disappointed by the governor's mandate.

"We are surf city," she said. "We are a beautiful coastal town. Our beaches are so important to us."

Orange County Sheriff Barnes released a statement tonight implying he wouldn't arrest anyone or try to enforce the mandate.

"From what I saw, the vast majority of the people on the beaches last weekend acted responsibly," he wrote. "No one should fear being subject to a criminal violation for seeking out and exercising healthy activities."

Both Huntington Beach and Newport Beach said they plan to issue warnings to try to enforce the governor's orders.

The Newport Beach City Council voted Tuesday against a proposal to close its beaches for the next three weekends.

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