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California celebrates July 4 with virtual parades, masks

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – As the corona virus grows in the state, Californians celebrated Independence Day with virtual parades with photos of flag-drawn front porches instead of pancake breakfast and crowded festivities.

Meanwhile, law enforcement agencies were out, reminding people to wear masks in public and rejecting disappointed sun seekers from beaches that were closed to discourage crowds for the weekend.

California is in a make-or-break moment, with infection rates and hospitalizations increasing rapidly. Govin Newsom this week ordered three-week closures of bars, restaurant areas for indoor restaurants and other indoor locations for 21

of 58 counties, including the two most populous, Los Angeles and San Diego.

The country’s latest bill with racial justice also marked the day.

Demonstrators in San Jose created a mural for Black Lives Matter, while former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said on Twitter: “Happy Birthday, America. Thank you for living the American dream. We have to fight every day to make sure that dream is just as true for a black child born in Minneapolis as for a white bodybuilder born in Austria. “

Many communities interrupted annual fireworks and restricted or closed beaches, changes that seemed to keep the crowds at bay. The beach closures that began Friday from Los Angeles County rolled north through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. In Orange County, hugely popular beaches such as Huntington and Newport were closed Saturday and Sunday.

Half Moon Bay on the Pacific Coast south of San Francisco erected barricades to prevent access to its beaches. But certain beach guests on Friday simply carried small children and gear over the blockades.

“So our sheriff’s patrol just drove up and down the coast,” said Jessica Blair, communications director for the city. “It was just a revolving door of people climbing over the barricades, setting themselves up and getting drafted.”

Seal Beach police Sgt. Nick Nicholas said Saturday afternoon that people seemed to have been notified that the beaches in Orange County were closed.

“It’s been good so far. We don’t see anyone on the beach, “he said.” It seems that people like our main street and restaurants. “

He said the audience size was “the right amount.”

On Saturday, California reported another 6,500 newly confirmed cases of coronavirus, bringing the state’s total to more than a quarter of a million cases. The actual number of infections is believed to be much higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest that people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

Enforcement has been a strenuous issue throughout the state.

The Southern California cities of West Hollywood and Santa Monica, as well as the central coastal town of Monterey, are enforcing mask mandates with tickets ranging from $ 100 to $ 300 for a first offense.

About 200 state inspectors, who are part of new “strike teams” set up by Newsom, extend this weekend to enforce rules – and encountered problems in Santa Clara County in Morgan Hill.

At a news conference Saturday, Mayor Rich Constantine struck at the appropriateness of armed officers with the state’s alcoholic beverage control who visited at least a dozen restaurants Friday night and ordered them to close.

Constantine said he did not know why the agents ordered the restaurants to close when allowed to operate outdoors. The strike team did not quote anyone, but they were “heavy-handed” and did not explain what the restaurants were doing wrong, he said.

“We can’t even get hold of anyone in the governor’s office and we are the government,” Constantine said. “The county attorney, our city attorney, has all been trying to get answers so we can get our companies a definitive answer.”

Charge Grill owner Dan McCranie said it is over frustrating that just as they begin to get back customers, “these guys are coming up and saying we can’t show you a rule or regulation but you will stop it.”

In response, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control said Saturday that restaurants did not have state permission to open.

San Diego County beaches remained open and saw tens of thousands of visitors on Friday. Many gathered in socially distanced groups when they did not splash in the shallows. But lifeguards said not everyone followed general security rules despite reminders of public address.

In San Jose, Mayor Sam Liccardo appealed in a tweet Friday for the public to avoid crowds and keep distances from people outside their households. He responded to a photo on a street full of happy, sociable guests.

Authorities have warned that common gatherings of families and friends have also been identified as sources of COVID-19 infections. In remote Northern California, Lake County reported its first COVID-19-related death Friday, and Humboldt County said Friday that about a quarter of its 144 cases were reported in the past two weeks.

“This has been largely driven by residents who gather and visit between households both locally and during travel, as well as illnesses that arise in the cannabis industry’s workforce,” said Dr. Teresa Frankovich, the county’s health officer.

The state is also fighting an outbreak in its prisons. The virus is suspected of killing another dead prisoner on Saturday at the San Quentin State Prison, where about 40% of those inmates are now infected, the corrections say. Dewayne Michael Carey, 59, was pronounced deceased on Saturday, bringing the total number of COVID-related deaths to deaths at the Marin County Jail to five.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, which are cleared up in two to three weeks. For some – especially older adults and people with pre-existing health problems – it can cause more serious illness, including pneumonia and death.

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