Gov. Gavin Newsom is closing a few California beaches, but the list of permitted activities still includes state pastimes like 'meditation' and 'exploring rock pools'

Gov. Gavin Newsom is closing a few California beaches, but the list of permitted activities still includes state pastimes like 'meditation' and 'exploring rock pools'
A worker with Absolute Intl. Security, which works with the Hermosa Beach Police Department, keeps people off The Strand and two-mile stretch of Hermosa Beach, California, in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, March 28, 2020.Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
  • The state web page describing California's stay-at-home order gives a "nonexhaustive" list of outdoor recreational activities that Californians are allowed to do.
  • Among them are: exploring rock pools, kite boarding, skateboarding (not in groups), and rock climbing.
  • Gov. Gavin Newsom said on Friday that California is "many days, not weeks" away from beginning to relax its stay-at-home order.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

California issued the first stay-at-home order in the US on March 19. It's set to remain in place until further notice, though Gov. Gavin Newsom said at a press briefing on Friday that the state is "many days, not weeks" away from updating the restrictions.

"I feel some confidence over the course of the next week we're going to be able to make some announcements that will give people some more confidence in the ability for California to get back on its economic feet," Newsom said.

Still, photos of crowded beaches during the warm weather last weekend prompted Newsom to close state beaches in Orange County an effort to enforce social-distancing measures. Newsom threatened earlier this week to close all California state beaches, but announced on Thursday that the restriction will only to the one Southern California county.

The state government also updated its website on Friday to tell residents more explicitly what the stay-at-home order allows them to do for outdoor recreation.

"It's okay to go outside to go for a walk, to exercise, and participate in healthy activities as long as you maintain a safe physical distance of 6 feet and gather only with members of your household," the website says.


It also gives a "non-exhaustive" list of permitted activities that, to some, likely reads as rather stereotypically Californian.

The list includes: exploring rock pools, kite boarding and kitesurfing, meditation, rock climbing, skateboarding (not in groups), and yoga.

What you can and can't do outside in California

Although California sets guidelines for safe outdoor recreation on its stay-at-home FAQ page, local ordinances govern which parks and outdoor areas are open in many locations.

Here's the state's full list of 34 acceptable outdoor recreational activities:

  • Athletics
  • Badminton (singles)
  • Throwing a baseball/softball
  • BMX biking
  • Canoeing (singles)
  • Crabbing
  • Cycling
  • Exploring rock pools
  • Gardening (not in groups)
  • Golf (singles, walking – no cart)
  • Hiking (trails/paths allowing distancing)
  • Horse riding (singles)
  • Jogging and running
  • Kite boarding and kitesurfing
  • Meditation
  • Outdoor photography
  • Picnics (with your stay-home household members only)
  • Quad biking
  • Rock climbing
  • Roller skating and rollerblading
  • Rowing (singles)
  • Scootering (not in groups)
  • Skateboarding (not in groups)
  • Soft martial arts – Tai Chi, Chi Kung (not in groups)
  • Table tennis (singles)
  • Throwing a football, kicking a soccer ball (not in groups)
  • Trail running
  • Trampolining
  • Tree climbing
  • Volleyball (singles)
  • Walk the dog
  • Wash the car
  • Watch the sunrise or sunset
  • Yoga

Staying at home in California

Nine counties in the Bay Area were the first in the US to issue a shelter-in-place order. Beginning March 17, residents were told to stay inside their homes as much as possible and leave only for essential needs, such as to buy groceries or medicine.


Gov. Newsom issued the statewide order two days later, and warned that 56% of the population could get infected with the virus over an eight-week period — about 22.5 million people. At that point, California had confirmed 1,067 coronavirus cases and 19 deaths.

Gov. Gavin Newsom is closing a few California beaches, but the list of permitted activities still includes state pastimes like 'meditation' and 'exploring rock pools'
People gather at the beach on April 30, in Huntington Beach, California. California Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered all beaches in state to close after April 30 to stem the spread of the coronavirus.Michael Heiman/Getty Images

But the state's early action seems to have enabled it to avoid the worst-case projections for the state.

Although California has flattened the curve, its daily number of new cases is not yet in dramatic decline. As of Friday, the state had more than 50,000 COVID-19 cases. More than 2,000 people have died.

Roughly 75% of Americans support the government's enforcement of social distancing measures for another two weeks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, according to a new Insider poll.

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