5:32 PM PT — Newport Beach just announced it’s cracking down on surfing and spectating at the Wedge.
The city says surfing will be prohibited at the surf spot from 10 AM to 5 PM, starting Friday, and the adjacent beach will be closed to discourage public gatherings.
The city’s fire department, which oversees the beach lifeguards, made the recommendation Thursday after seeing large numbers of surfers at the Wedge, as well as spectators gathering to watch them, during this week’s swell.
Surfers in California are flocking to one of the most famous surf spots in the world … and it’s getting so crowded, social distancing is going out the window!!!
Here’s the deal … surfers are making their way to the Wedge in Newport Beach — not only for the waves, but because it’s sort of a final outpost. While Los Angeles County has completely closed all beaches — doling out $1,000 fines for surfers and arresting paddleboarders — Orange County beaches remain open.
There are some deterrents — like closed parking lots and boardwalks — but you can see in this video, it’s not having much of an impact.
Surfers argue they can maintain 6-feet of social distancing in the water, but with so many catching waves on Wednesday … surfers were literally bumping into each other!!!
One guy who paddled out at the Wedge tells us locals are pissed L.A. County peeps are coming by the droves … along with San Diego surfers. Their beaches are closed too. We’re told some locals even showed up and asked the out-of-towners to beat it.
As we’ve reported … scenes like those at the Wedge are exactly why L.A. County shut down its beaches more than a week ago. Clearly, OC folks are worried they could face the same fate.
Lifeguards are doing their best to alert surfers in the OC when they get too close together. Although, a leading scientist warns the SoCal ocean water could expose surfers and swimmers to the virus — some people don’t care.
Originally published — 10:38 AM PT