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Majority Of Orange County Beaches Under 'Soft Closure' Orders

NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA) - Along the Orange County coastline, a majority of beaches are under "soft closures," which allow people access to the beach, but prohibit entering the water while crews continue with oil spill cleanup.

"We got all these guys with hazmat suits on, and I don't know what they're doing out here because the beach is beautiful, the water is beautiful, it's a beautiful day," said Colorado native Alex Chaffetz, whose family was vacationing in Newport Beach Saturday.

Crews wearing personal protective gear were busy picking up excess oil and tar balls that may have washed ashore.

"Just not seeing any oil, thankfully," said Chaffetz, who added that he was comfortable allowing his to play at the waters edge. "Show me the oil. I just don't see it."

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Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley was also out on the beaches, reminding people to stay out of the water.

"Even if you can't see oil, it's there. So, please don't get in the water," Foley said.

Meanwhile, offshore recovery teams have not observed any free-floating oil in the water for three straight days. Still, officials with the U.S. Coast Guard remains cautious.

"We're making a lot of progress within the last several days. We've...doubled the amount of people we have assisting with this response. We have 1,300 contractors working right now," Coast Guard Lt. Aiden Leddy-Phillips said.

The plan, officials said, is to move the cleanup operation south to San Diego County and continue to monitor the oil levels.

As for Chaffetz, he said none of this bothers him.

"I actually grew up here in the '70s and I remember coming home as a kid with tar on my feet every time I went to the beach. This is like the cleanest beach I've ever been to."

Experts say the best way to clean up any oil or tar beachgoers may come into contact with is to wash up with soap and water or baby oil.

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