Letters to the Editor: Newsom’s right. Crowding beaches in a pandemic is not your birthright as a Californian

Manhattan Beach
The Strand walking and bike path in Manhattan Beach, shown April 25, is closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: When I read the opening paragraph of George Skelton’s column, “Newsom could use some beach time. It’s sad that he intends to close them amid the coronavirus crisis,” I thought he was being sarcastic. Not Trump sarcastic, but seasoned journalist sarcastic.


Skelton’s reminisce of his parents meeting at a Ventura beach party in the 1920s compared to the hordes of people gathering at California beaches during a pandemic in the 2020s has to be one of the worst reasons of all time for opening up our beaches.

Our beaches are still going to be here after this pandemic is gone. Unfortunately, there will be people whose next trip to the beach will be in an urn.

If going to the beach is perfectly safe and you should forget about wearing masks when you go because “one of the ocean’s appeal is breathing in that salt air drifting in on a soft breeze,” then remember, that breeze could be carrying the coronavirus.


No, Gov. Gavin Newsom doesn’t need any “beach time.” He needs to help keep all Californians alive.

Paula Del, Los Angeles


To the editor: Thanks to Skelton for his fine column before Newsom decided to close all beaches in Orange County. I was so glad to see it after his fellow columnist Steve Lopez chastised everyone who went to Huntington Beach last week to enjoy a hot sunny day on the sand.

I was at the beach last weekend, and I can tell you that the people there actually weren’t close to each other. Frolicking on the beach is a danger to no one.

Lopez is a cheerleader for giving beach access to foot-stomping crowds to every last protected and hidden cove. So I was surprised when he lectured us not to go for once.

I’m with Skelton on this one.

Michael Forrest, Huntington Beach



To the editor: The L.A. Times’ coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic has been comprehensive and exemplary, but Skelton’s column was outright irresponsible.

There is no “right” to a day at the beach, and the proposed solution to have staff members keep people apart is hazardous and unworkable; ask any lifeguard.

As for data, Skelton is invited to consult the epidemiologists who have united behind the science and come to a single conclusion: Stay the hell at home. Quarantining is a pain, but it’s tolerable and saves lives.

The sooner we get through it, the faster we can enjoy our beautiful outdoors.

Lee Bridges, Los Angeles


To the editor: Skelton is right. Newsom needs to chill out and dip his toes into the Big Blue and breathe some fresh salty air.

If all the beaches from Ventura to San Diego were open, there’s a better chance of social distancing because — what a concept — there’s more space to spread out.

Scott Marshutz, Dana Point


To the editor: The coronavirus is doing something odd to the Southern California psyche. We’re not just getting used to the virus and its protocols, we’re getting used to dying, accepting it somehow as collateral damage on the road to normality.

In rushing to our beaches, not wearing masks and otherwise flouting the rules, we’re in denial, and what we’re denying could kill us. This virus has already killed more than 1,000 people in Los Angeles County alone. Experts say a second wave of infections is inevitable.

We must follow the experts’ prompts to survive this pandemic: Stay six feet apart, wear a mask, and spray our hands with sanitizer and our minds with plain common sense.

Saul Isler, Los Angeles