Now that California is requiring everyone to wear masks in public, the general manager of a Pacific Beach bar is hoping she’ll have an easier time enforcing the rules inside her business.
PB’s Duck Dive and restaurants across the county are open, but customers are required to wear facial coverings and only remove them to drink and eat. While most customers are respectful of the rules, Rebecca Winn said she’s had to throw people out because of their unwillingness to comply.
“Every once and while we do have to ask someone to leave because they’re just in refusal of putting their mask back on,” Winn said. “And we’re prepared to do that.”
Scenes from the Gaslamp District that emerged last weekend showing sidewalks crowded with unmasked individuals was enough to worry county leaders and public health officials. Supervisor Nathan Fletcher said facial covering rules set forth by the county are law, but are hard to enforces. And while the county is looking to increase enforcement on “egregious violators, he said the county and all of its citizens are relying on business owners to enforce the laws of the public health order in their establishments.
“We think the overwhelming majority of them are doing the right thing and want to do the right thing,” Fletcher said.
As for why some seem so keen on not wearing coverings, Fletcher said misinformation plays a role.
“We’re a very divided country. We have a number of individuals who share misinformation, we unfortunately have a number of outlets that share misinformation and promulgate things that are just not factually based, and that makes our job harder. That makes the reality of reopening and staying open harder, and that means the best we can do is go out and share with folks the intention behind this is out of a desire to reopen and protect life. It’s a temporary thing, it’s a sacrifice, it’s a little bit of an inconvenience, but it’s a very mild one compared to the other side.”
“There is a growing, every day a growing scientific body of evidence that suggests this may be one of the most effective things we can do,” he added.
Winn said customers were more open to the idea in the beginning, but now she finds herself policing more and more often.
“We’re definitely starting to see a trend where people aren’t wearing masks as much coming up to the door,” she said. “They get angry or irate and they don’t understand. They don’t want to comply.”
One Duck Dive customer said he’s seen some customers put up a fight over not wanting to wear a mask.
“You gotta look out for the staff here,” he said. “They’ve been through a lot over the last few months so they’re happy to be back to work they shouldn’t have to deal with that stuff.”
Some customers comply, but Winn hopes the state’s latest decision will make her job easier.
“If you’re in California, you better have a mask on you if you want to go anywhere. I think for us that’s something we need in order to help us enforce these rules,” she said.
While Winn’s bar is open for dining, she’s not sure when or how she’ll be able to open reopen bar seating while making room for social distancing.