The arrest of a man paddleboarding in California sparked a heated debate about the statewide stay-at-home order issued due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The unidentified man was arrested Thursday after he was found paddleboarding near the Malibu Pier in violation of beach closure orders, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Beware LA County paddle boarders you will be arrested for using the Pacific Ocean 😳 (via brothers_marshall IG) pic.twitter.com/x2TmIwPkM6
— Andy Ruther (@AndyRuther) April 3, 2020
Los Angeles County lifeguards and sheriff’s deputies in boats tried in vain to get the man to come ashore but he continued to paddle for another 30 minutes after being ordered to exit the water, as video apparently taken at the scene showed.
Once he made it back to shore, the man was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor on suspicion of disobeying a lifeguard as well as violating the state stay-at-home order issued by Gov. Gavin Newsom in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
He was released on a promise to appear in court after being booked at Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station, according to officials. If he is convicted of violating the state order, he could face a fine of $1,000 or six months in jail, or both.
A surfer who violated the order last weekend in Manhattan Beach was reportedly fined $1,000 as California beaches, parks and hiking trails have been ordered closed to protect against the spread of the virus.
But critics of the mandate have pointed to what they see as an illogical enforcement of the order, considering the county and state’s large homeless population.
“Sorry guys, this is just plain stupid,” one Facebook user wrote. “In Hawaii right now the beaches are closed, but surfers can still surf and you can swim in the ocean as long as you stay away from other people. Be like Hawaii Not Cuba.”
“So let me get this straight. This dude is “social distancing”—so you bring more people close to him and then arrest him?” another asked.
“Thank god you utilized thousands and thousands of dollars of resources for a dude paddle boarding, minding his own business, well away from others,” one sarcastic Facebook comment read.
Twitter users also chimed in, with a few who voiced support for the move.
If they let one person slide, they have to let everyone else slide too. That’s why when they get calls they have to tell them to leave, otherwise it would be pointless to have a stay at home order
— B🇨🇦G (@bgrewal54) April 3, 2020
It’s not about the individual action, but the fact that if everyone was allowed to do as they please, there would be no social distancing at all
— 🗽Freiheit🐍 🇪🇦🇪🇺 (@pericopfb5) April 3, 2020
But plenty of other Twitter users sounded the alarm over what they saw as government overreach and double standards.
LA County: We’ll arrest a lone standup paddle boarder for using the ocean during a quarantine.
Also LA County: But we won’t do a damn thing or look for solutions regarding the 65k homeless people spreading diseases during a pandemic.
Gotta love it!
— Andy Ruther (@AndyRuther) April 3, 2020
Being out on the ocean is the absolute apex of social distancing.
— john honos (@jbhonos) April 3, 2020
The ocean ins’t a park. Stay at home order isn’t a law and isn’t not constitutional.
— Pla Dobrev (@PlamenDobrev) April 3, 2020
— Ole the Red (@mjolnir59) April 3, 2020
How about allowing a free society to make those decisions for themselves. Those that are taking this seriously will self Quarantine and be careful and vigilant, and others that aren’t taking it seriously will probably get sick
— Alexander Olivo (@alex_75248) April 3, 2020
Is this really about the virus anymore?
— BoomLibertyNews 🌎 (@BoomLibertyNews) April 3, 2020
I hope everybody is enjoying their 60 day free trial of communism. https://t.co/F4lt9XkeOJ
— Tim Kennedy (@TimKennedyMMA) April 3, 2020
But what exactly is he doing that’s stupid? He was by himself in the OCEAN……
— Nathan Todd (@nathantodd77) April 3, 2020
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