Orange County flouts state-wide stay-at-home orders

On April 19th, hundreds of people gathered at the San Clemente Pier and Del Mar to protest stay-at-home orders (Photo courtesy of Zack Gardner)

By: Sophia Burick | Editor in Chief

May 1, 2020

By noon on April 19th, about 200 people gathered in the pier bowl area of San Clemente to protest the state-wide stay-at-home orders placed earlier this month to halt the spread of coronavirus. Many protesters donned red, white, and blue, as well as apparel supporting President Donald Trump, reflecting their support for his recent comments pushing to reopen the United States as soon as possible, largely going against the advice of health professionals. A majority of protesters were not wearing cloth face coverings as recommended by the Center for Disease Control. 

The protestors marched from the pier to Del Mar, carrying signs reading “Lockdown is Tyranny,” “My Body, My Risk, My Choice,” The Media Is the Virus,” and “My Freedom is Essential” as well as “Make America Great Again” flags. By 4 PM that day, no arrests or citations were made despite police presence. On the same day, similar protests occurred in Huntington Beach and San Diego. 

“You can’t protest a virus,” San Clemente High School senior Chloe Kamp said.

Throughout the next week, Orange County residents from Newport Beach to San Clemente flouted stay-at-home orders and attended the beach in droves, attracting the ire of Governor Newsom in his address last Thursday. This week the SC Times also reported the first new coronavirus cases in San Clemente in nearly two weeks. 

Newport Beach was extremely crowded over the weekend despite stay-at home orders (Mindy Schauer, Orange County Register/SCNG)

In retaliation to Orange County’s lack of compliance to state orders compared to other counties across the state, Newsom ordered all Orange County beaches to close, and these rules went into effect today. 

Today protestors, in a similar fashion to the protest on April 19th, took to the streets again in San Clemente and Huntington beach in crowds reported to be of nearly 500 people. Many signs and slogans disparaged Governor Newsom’s “tyranny” over the State of California. Many local officials, including San Clemente Councilmember Gene James and Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes, issues statements in support of the protestors.

OC Sherriff Don Barnes issued a statement criticizing Governor Newsom’s closure of beaches (Twitter)
San Clemente Councilman Gene James posted on his political Facebook page proposing actions to scale back stay-at-home orders (Facebook)

“I understand that people are frustrated, but these protests will do nothing but endanger public health and extend closures,” SCHS senior Kate McKernan said. “It’s also pretty ironic that the same people who tout a respect for authority when police are questioned for brutalizing black people are the same ones flouting state mandates so that they can go surfing.”

4 Comments on Orange County flouts state-wide stay-at-home orders

  1. You cannot protest a virus, but you can protest a violation of your constitution rights. People just need to get it through their heads that they need to wear masks, gloves and goggles. The governor is just trying to enforce his anti-right and anti-Trump agenda, which intentionally or unintentionally puts our small businesses and large businesses at risk of bankruptcy. This lockdown has also caused the loss of jobs. You are against this protest because of how you despise the conservative opinion which also criticizes the media (like online newspapers). We should reopen in stages and use masks, gloves and goggles to reopen, not complete and total flouting.

  2. Hi Pierce,

    Thanks for your comments, however I’m not quite sure how to follow them. There is nothing political about trying to protect one another from a global pandemic, which has already killed 300K+. We are all just human, trying to do our part to stay safe.

    Take care

  3. It’s extremely upsetting how keeping Americans safe from a pandemic has become a political issue. I must say, it is disheartening, but not shocking.

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