Governor Gavin Newsom (D-CA) distanced himself from an internal announcement at the California Police Chiefs Association, which circulated a memo claiming the governor would close all beaches and state parks effective Friday, May 1.
During a press conference on Thursday, the governor said that the memo, which circulated widely online, was never approved by him, and that his position has remained consistent.
“Bottom line, that was their memo, that memo never got to me,” said the governor, who instead announced that only beaches in Orange County would be temporarily closed, a move he previously threatened after a reported 80,000 people flocked to Orange County beaches last weekend.
The Police Chiefs Association memo, a copy of which was obtained by Bill Melugin at Fox News Los Angeles on Wednesday evening, stated that Newsom would announce the statewide closures during a Thursday press conference.
“[T]he Governor will be announcing tomorrow that all beaches and all state parks in California will be closed,” said the Police Chiefs Association’s memo.
“We wanted to give all of our members a heads up about this in order to provide time for you to plan for any situations you might expect as a result, knowing each community has its own dynamics,” said the memo.
Fox News Los Angeles reporter Bill Melugin observed after the press conference that the governor “really threw the Police Chief’s Association under the bus and essentially said their memo was untruthful.”
Newsom really threw the Police Chiefs Association under the bus and essentially said their memo was untruthful, though it is very, very specific in terms of who conversations were with, etc. I’ve reached out to the association for their response. Did Newsom call an audible? pic.twitter.com/JLw1OguPIH
— Bill Melugin (@BillFOXLA) April 30, 2020
John Myers of The Los Angeles Times reports that many sources familiar with the beach closure discussion thought the governor was taking imminent action, and that the governor’s office declined to debunk the story about beach closures when reached for comment Wednesday evening, prior to the news agency’s original report.
After the Thursday press conference announcing only beaches in Orange County would be closed, the California Republican Party mocked the governor for “backpedaling.”
— CAGOP (@CAGOP) April 30, 2020
Orange County Supervisor Donald Wagner published a statement Wednesday evening in response to the planned beach closure, remarking that the governor was undermining the efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus through government “overreaction.”
“Medical professionals tell us the importance of fresh air and sunlight in fighting infectious diseases, including mental health benefits,” said Wagner. “I fear that this overreaction from the state will undermine that cooperative attitude and our collective efforts to fight the disease, based on the best available medical information.”
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