The city of San Diego is cracking down on businesses defying the public health order. Mayor Gloria’s Deputy Chief of Staff Nick Serrano said San Diego Police officers have contacted dozens of restaurants and have cited several others.
People visiting Little Italy Saturday afternoon said COVID-19 rules and regulations appear to be inconsistent.
“One of my places that I got to, they had outdoor tables where you could do takeout, but this week they don’t. But then there’s one place that has almost regular table service and it’s still going,” said Ilyse Rathet, who was visiting Pappalecco Café for takeout.
Some businesses were seen accommodating guests on their patios, while others, like Pappalecco Café, didn’t even have tables outside. Owner of Pappalecco Café, Francesco Bucci, told NBC 7 before last week he was allowing guests to enjoy their to-go coffee and meals on his tables outside, but then he received a complaint.
“The health department showed up and they said, ‘No tables outside either,’ so we don’t have tables,” Bucci said.
He said he complied with the health department’s request, but a few days later San Diego police officers paid him a visit after receiving a noise complaint.
“I cannot prevent people from having coffee standing here, right there where the trashcan is. If they want to hug each other it’s not my problem, if they want to stay close to each other, standing. We do not provide tables, we do not provide chairs,” explained Bucci.
Bucci has not received a citation and said he continues to follow the guidance.
“I don’t know if at this point someone is breaking the law or not, but it’s pretty clear there are tables around,” Bucci said.
“The Piazza is open, why isn’t this open?” asked one of Bucci’s customers who had no place to eat his to-go meal.
According to Mayor Todd Gloria’s office, SDPD cited at least seven repeat offenders for defying public health order and contacted more than 100 businesses suspected violators. The city said they plan on continuing enforcement as COVID-19 cases continue to climb.
Bucci said he’s hoping to be granted the same approval as other businesses that are operating outdoors without getting penalized.
“I hope I can have tables here, at least on the street, like everybody else,” Bucci said.