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Los Angeles County closes beaches for July 4 weekend, citing coronavirus risk

Beaches in Los Angeles County will be closed over July 4 weekend to prevent "dangerous crowding that results in the spread of deadly COVID-19," the county's public health department said in a Monday statement. Fireworks will also be prohibited, the county said. 

The closure begins just after midnight on July 3, and ends July 6 at 5:00 a.m., the department said. It applies to all public beaches, piers, public beach parking lots, beach bike paths that cross sanded parts of the beach and beach access points. 

The decision does not apply to nearby Long Beach, which has its own health department, the statement said.  

The announcement comes as LA County reported more than 2,900 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday, "the single largest one-day case count since the pandemic began," according to the department. 

"Data show increases in people testing positive for the virus and increases in hospitalizations as a result," the department said. "Projections by the Department of Health Services show a marked increase in hospitalizations in the coming weeks, which could cause a surge in our healthcare system." 

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Holiday beachgoers head to Venice Beach on Memorial Day as coronavirus safety restrictions continue being relaxed in Los Angeles County and nationwide on May 24, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.  David McNew/Getty Images

 "Closing the beaches and prohibiting fireworks displays during this important summer holiday weekend was an incredibly difficult decision to make, but it's the responsible decision to protect public health and protect our residents from a deadly virus," said Barbara Ferrer, the county's director of public health. "The Fourth of July holiday weekend typically means large crowds and gatherings to celebrate, a recipe for increased transmission of COVID-19." 

Long Beach isn't the only part of California with new coronavirus restrictions. Governor Gavin Newsom tweeted Sunday that the state is ordering bars to close in seven counties, and recommending bars close in eight more, as the state approaches 217,000 cases and nearly 6,000 deaths. 

Globally, there have been more than 10 million cases, and more than 500,000 people have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins. 

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