After images of sun-lovers flocking to beaches in Orange County filled the media last weekend, Governor Gavin Newsom announced a mandatory closure of all beaches in O.C. on Thursday. Calling it a “temporary pause,” he cited a need for guidelines and planning before the area’s beaches can re-open.

Though beaches and state parks across the rest of California have not seen mandated closure by the governor, Newsom cited Orange County due to more coronavirus cases and hospitalizations than other areas, as well as the obvious lack of social distancing seen in images and reports from Newport Beach and Huntington Beach after a record breaking heatwave.

Earlier in the week, the governor announced four stages that must be reached before re-opening the state. The cautious approach has won Newsom much praise as the state has managed to keep our “curve” fairly flat, but a growing number of small local business owners whose livelihoods are at risk have begun to push back and even protest state restrictions.

The lack of success in acquiring small business loans via the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program is part of the shift for many Californians in terms of wanting to open up local businesses. As of now, it appears huge companies have been getting preferential treatment in getting the aid, many who don’t really need it. The Los Angeles Lakers, Shake Shack and ritzy steakhouse chain Ruth Chris all scored millions, but were shamed into giving it back.

In any case, as of now a slow and steady re-opening with wiggle room for re-assessments appears to be the governor’s course. Currently shelter at home guidelines remain in place until May 15, but they’ll surely be pushed later based on the four-stage model. The current stage (Stage 1) involves ensuring essential businesses are safe, more testing and enhancing “contract tracing” capabilities. Making sure hospitals are ready to handle a potential surge in cases and stocking up on PPE for essential workers is also part of the plan for now.

See all four stages below: 

Locally, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti has been pretty much on the same page as Newsom, touting safer at home guidelines and keeping L.A.’s beaches and parks closed. Though Newsom suggested the possibility of school opening for a Summer session in July, Garcetti stated in various interviews this week that it is “way too early” to start that conversation.

The mayor’s big news, that L.A. is now “the first major city in America to offer free COVID-19 testing to all residents,” was announced Thursday. Via social media, the mayor shared that priority will be given to those with symptoms, but stated that individuals without symptoms can also be tested, free of charge. Sign up at Coronavirus.LACity.org/Testing.

Finally, it’s the first of month and for many Angelenos the financial stress of rent during shutdown is on the forefront of concerns. Garcetti is reminding the city, also via social media, that protections are in place. According to the mayor, “those unable to pay their rent due to COVID-19 cannot be evicted, and lockouts and utility shut offs are illegal.” More info and help with this issue can found at HCIDLA.LACity.org.