California lawmakers plead: fight virus, don’t pack beaches

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People walks along Zuma Beach, Monday, March 23, 2020, in Malibu, Calif. Officials are trying to dissuade people from using the beaches after California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered the state’s 40 million residents to stay at home indefinitely. His order restricts non-essential movements to control the spread of the coronavirus that threatens to overwhelm the state’s medical system. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

LOS ANGELES (AP) – California lawmakers are begging people not to pack beaches and hiking trails as a sunny weekend arrives after days of residents being cooped up under stay-at-home orders.

Springtime weather is expected more than a week after Gov. Gavin Newsom barred 40 million residents from going outdoors except for essentials.

Even so, reports of crowds have prompted local and state officials to warn that ignoring social distancing and beach closures could spread the virus, which already is surging.

Johns Hopkins University tallied more than 4,700 California cases Friday, with at least 97 deaths.

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