Over the July 4th weekend, the authorities in Orange and Los Angeles counties imposed a ‘hard closure’ at the beaches, which is still in force at many locations. The number of COVID cases is creeping upwards and clearly large crowds are highly undesirable. Large signs and locked fences presided over by the police make it abundantly clear that this is not an advisory measure. Normally the beaches would be busy all day long at this time of year. The city’s fee COVID testing programme has reached capacity, and the current warning status is orange. Hospital admissions are rising. As with New York State, Governor Newsom has the unenviable task of balancing the return to work and saving struggling businesses against the harsher imperative of saving lives.