Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) ordered all California beaches and state parks to close last week. However, photos of Democratic Congressman Harley Rouda reportedly show he was at a private beach last weekend despite saying that opening the beaches was "reckless."
"Keeping Orange County beaches open during a heat wave is reckless," Rouda tweeted April 21. "We need leaders who will prioritize public health and make the tough calls to keep our families safe."
After 40,000 people visited Newport Beach and there were crowds at Huntington Beach on the last weekend in April, Newsom said, "We're going to do a hard close" of the California beaches.
"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 said last Thursday.
CBS News found photos of Rouda "spending time at a private beach in Southern California" last weekend.
Rouda's campaign manager released a statement that said 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."
The CBS News report does not indicate which private beach, but a 2017 Patch article calls Rouda an "Emerald Bay businessman." Photos on social media show the Rouda family at Emerald Bay Beach in recent months. Emerald Bay is a gated community in North Laguna Beach that features a beach that is not accessible to the public.
The website California Beaches, calls Emerald Bay Beach "one of the nicest beaches in Laguna Beach."
Emerald Bay Beach is a private beach that is only open to residents of the gated community of Emerald Bay in North Laguna Beach. The homes on both sides of Pacific Coast Highway have access to this half-mile-wide sandy beach. There is a park centrally located in the cove with grass areas, a tennis court, a wide flat sandy area with volleyball courts, and picnic tables and fire pits. If you get an invitation to visit Emerald Bay Beach from a resident, consider yourself lucky. This is one of the nicest beaches in Laguna Beach, California.
Current real estate listings at the "premier gated community" range between $4 million and $12 million, and are said to feature "some of the most exclusive real estate in all of Southern California."