State Shut Down Orders Inconsistently Enforced In San Diego and Riverside Counties

Differences in how San Diego and Riverside counties are enforcing the governor's stay-at-home order are leaving people who own businesses in both counties struggling to comply

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As COVID-19 hospitalizations rise, and ICU availability decreases, there are concerning inconsistencies on how Governor Newsom’s stay-at-home policy is being enforced in neighboring Riverside and San Diego counties.

Adam Evans owns indoor rock climbing businesses in both counties.

In Riverside, Evans said he’s been allowed to operate as local authorities refuse to enforce the state order. But his business in Vista has been served with a cease-and-desist order by San Diego County health officials.

“It’s really frustrating. I don’t have the time, money, or effort to deal with this,” said Evans.

Evans is desperately trying to keep both of his businesses operating under state day camp guidelines.

But after being served with the cease and desist order last Friday, Evans said San Diego County deputies showed up at his Vista business, The Wall, demanding proof day camp guidelines, in fact, applied to his business.

“We’re following guidelines, we’re trying to be responsible and be open, people are wearing face masks, social distancing, staying in cohorts and groups,” said Evans.

Right now, San Diego County health officials are assessing his eligibility to operate under day camp guidelines, Evans said.

Last Friday, Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco made it clear he would not be enforcing the state shutdown order in his county, citing what he called its "dictatorial attributes."

“The Riverside Sheriff’s Department will not be blackmailed, bullied, or used as muscle against Riverside County residents in the enforcement of the governor’s orders,” said Sheriff Bianco in a message posted to the department’s YouTube page.

Regardless of opinion on the orders, COVID numbers in Riverside county continue to skyrocket.

According to the Riverside County Health department, ICU availability is at 6.1%, and the case rate is an astounding 47.8 per 100,000 residents.

Those figures could potentially impact neighboring San Diego County, but business owners like Evans feel they’re caught in the middle of the enforcement inconsistencies.

For his part, Evans said he’d like to think he’s part of the solution.

“When you come to a place like this, you’re staying healthy, you’re active, you’re boosting your immune system being in an environment, versus what? Staying at home and then everybody hoarding at Costco? What’s better. What’s better for everybody’s health?" Evans said.

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