Business Owners Clash Over Compliance, Local Leaders Warn ‘Action Will Be Taken'

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Some business owners told NBC 7 they’re peacefully protesting the stay-at-home order by staying open or offering in-person dining. Meanwhile, those who are following the state’s guidance are pleading for compliance.

Maurizio Carbone, owner of Maurizio Trattoria Italiana, said he’s followed public health orders since the beginning of the pandemic, but now he’s had enough. Meanwhile, Sandra Cardet, owner of Havana Grill in Clairemont, said she’s complying and is frustrated with those who are defying the order.

“We're all suffering through this, but we all have to operate together to get this virus under control,” said Cardet. It’s not Cardet’s first time speaking out against business owners defying public health orders. “We play by the rules. We feel it’s important to follow the Governor’s orders and what the scientists say, to protect us and to protect our customers and to protect our staff. It’s just the right thing to do,” said Cardet.

But Carbone said his business will not survive off to-go orders only and his employees won’t either.

“These guys (Carbone’s employees) told me, ‘Maurizio what are we going to do when we have a lockdown? I need to work a little bit of shifts. I don’t care to pay the rent, honestly, but I need to put some food, some bread, on the table for my child’,” said Carbone. So, he decided to continue in-person dining and said he’s doing it safely.

“This peaceful protest that we’re doing, I don’t see why we’re so dangerous,” said Carbone. He and dozens of others said they are peacefully protesting.

“Who’s actually enforcing this order?! Is it the sheriff?” asked Cardet.

San Diego County Sheriff’s Deputies were seen patrolling in Carlsbad Saturday night. Restaurant owners told NBC 7 Carlsbad police officers were handing out boxes of masks and reminding business owners to wear masks and physical distance Friday night. Some businesses were issued cease-and-desist orders. Carbone said he got a warning from Alcoholic Beverage Control.

"For now, we go day by day. We are open and we are convinced this is the best decision," said Carbone.  

A representative with San Diego County said action will be taken, either in the form of a cease-and-desist order, or a referral to the District Attorney for legal action.

Supervisor Jim Desmond visited a few businesses defying public health order over the weekend. He said he encouraged them to follow safety protocols while staying open. Carlsbad councilmember Cori Schumacher said the City Attorney is looking into the legality of businesses operating against orders.

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