California Rep. Harley Rouda has recently been seen on a private beach in Orange County despite supporting Gov. Gavin Newsom’s criticism of those communities that opened beaches to the public during the coronavirus pandemic.
Last week, Newsom ordered all beaches in Orange County to be shut down temporarily after photos and reports surfaced showing beach-goers apparently violating social distancing guidelines.
Communities argued that people were following “social distancing” rules and stated that they had taken steps to increase law enforcement while keeping beaches open.
Last Thursday, Rouda, whose district includes parts of Orange County, praised Newsom while criticizing the reopening of beaches in a statement.
“Opening beaches to thousands of Southern Californians during a weekend heat-wave without adequate social-distancing protocols was a reckless action that put the families of California’s 48th district in harm’s way,” Rouda, a Democrat, said in the statement.
But Rouda was himself seen at a private beach in Orange County last weekend, according to CBS News campaign reporter Musadiq Bidar.
Rouda’s campaign manager said in a statement that the congressman and his family “were actively moving and adequately socially distancing on a residential beach, which has explicitly outlined beach access requirements in accordance with Governor Newsom’s beach order.”
In his statement last week, Rouda said that Orange County beaches “cannot remain vacant and shuttered until a vaccine is developed” and called on local leaders to start “drafting plans to safely and gradually relax stay-at-home orders.”
“Orange County’s pristine beaches are more than tourist attractions — they are essential public spaces, like parks, that residents should be allowed to utilize safely,” Rouda’s statement read.