San Diego city leaders urged residents to continue obeying orders regarding COVID-19 precautions during the Memorial Day weekend.
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said the county's first day back to in-person dining and in-store retail was largely a success, though one Pacific Beach restaurant and bar made headlines when videos and pictures shared over social media showed large groups of patrons standing in close quarters without masks on Thursday.
The restaurant, El Prez, was shut down Friday by county officials as a result. San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said the restaurant would "remain closed until further notice" for violations of the public health order.
Faulconer issued a warning to business owners, saying "The same thing
will happen to any businesses that operate with a flagrant disregard for
the safety of others."
San Diego Police Department Chief David Nisleit said water access and running or jogging along the shoreline will be allowed, but reminded the public stopping, sitting, or lying down at the beaches is still prohibited, while boardwalks and parking lots remain closed.
“I’m kinda bummed that the boardwalk is closed cause we wanted to ride bikes and go for a walk and hang out at the beach," said Spike Orta who is visiting Pacific Beach from Pheonix.
Orta used to live in La Mesa and decided to head west for Memorial Day Weekend. He says this is the first time he's worn a mask because restrictions aren't as severe in Arizona.
“I feel kind of bad for everybody around here cause it totally affects everybody," he said.
Orta said it's hard to get seated without a reservation.
“We’re trying to find a place to eat that will let us in right now," he said. "We’ve been on a little bit of a search.”
Tracey Bellow, David Songer, and their friends headed south, from Riverside, for the weekend. Living in California, they know all about the rules and restrictions on the beaches.
“It’s kind of nice not having it crowded," she said.
It took a couple of phone calls but they did find places to eat and drink.
"We went to open bars and restaurants last night. It was so much fun, we had a ball," Bellow said.
San Diego police and lifeguards stepped up enforcement of the public health orders this weekend, both at beaches and businesses that have reopened since San Diego entered the latter part of Phase 2.
Nisleit said a "very robust grouping of law enforcement" will be patrolling day and night, while San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Lifeguard Chief James Gartland said "full lifeguard staffing" would be on hand to enforce compliance of the health orders at the beaches.
"Let's support local workers and restaurants not only by giving them our business but by following public health rules that keep all of us safe," Faulconer said.
"We've all worked so hard, so let's enjoy our progress but not give up the gains we've made. Whether you're on the sand or at a shop this weekend, stay classy out there San Diego," Faulconer said.