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LA closes beaches ahead of Fourth of July weekend as coronavirus cases rise

LA closes beaches ahead of Fourth of July weekend as coronavirus cases rise
© David McNew/Getty Images

Los Angeles is shutting its beaches for the holiday weekend around Independence Day as the number of new coronavirus cases spikes, county officials said Monday. 

Beaches will be closed to all recreational activities from July 3 through July 6 at 5 a.m. to prevent crowding that could spread the coronavirus.

The county is also prohibiting fireworks displays over the holiday weekend, officials said. 

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“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,” Barbara Ferrer, director of public health, said in the announcement.

“The Fourth of July holiday weekend typically means large crowds and gatherings to celebrate, a recipe for increased transmission of COVID-19,” she added. 

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced more than 2,900 new COVID-19 cases Monday, the largest one-day case count since the start of the pandemic. The health department said its projections show a marked increase in hospitalizations in the coming weeks, which could cause a surge in its health care system. 

“We all need to take this virus more seriously and residents and business owners must do their part. Physical distancing isn’t optional, wearing a face covering isn’t optional, spending time only with those you live with isn’t optional — these are requirements in the Health Officer Order and are the tools we have to protect each other, our families and those most vulnerable in our communities,” Ferrer said. 

The county will shut all public beaches, piers, parking lots and beach bike paths that traverse the sanded portion of the beach. 

The county said its order does not apply to Long Beach, which has its own health department, at this time. Long Beach released a statement shortly after confirming it will close beaches in the city in alignment with Los Angeles County.