Encinitas Mayor Blakespear threatens to rescind permits from rule-breaking restaurants
ENCINITAS (KUSI) – COVID-19 cases continue to increase across San Diego County, and compliance teams are working across the region to make sure everyone is safe.
On New Year’s Eve, San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria announced that he has directed San Diego Police to use stronger enforcement of our public health orders, threatening businesses and customers who violate the orders with fines and other punishments.
Shortly after Mayor Gloria’s announcement, Encinitas Mayor Catherine Blakespear said the City of Encinitas, “will be suspending sidewalk and street permits for restaurants that are violating the county health order by remaining open.”
Blakespear said the bottom line is that, “Encinitas will be pulling sidewalk permits from rule-breaking restaurants.”
Mayor Blakespear joined KUSI’s Hunter Sowards on Good Evening San Diego to discuss her threat to rescind restaurants sidewalk permits in more detail.
Sowards asked Mayor Blakespear to respond to the restaurant owners who point to the science that proves coronavirus is not being spread from people dining outdoors.
Blakespear said, “we know this is a really hard time for everybody, and all of us are suffering. We have to have compassion for the business community, that is really suffering a lot, especially restaurants that have had to pivot and change gears so frequently in these last ten months.” Continuing, “the reality is that there is spread at restaurants. And I think we have seen the data now that shows that to be the case. And we don’t know if it’s back of the house, like the employees, or if it’s in the front of the house necessarily. But we know that regardless that what I might personally believe, this is the county health order.”
Despite Blakespear’s claims, San Diego County Public Health Officer, Dr. Wilma Wooten, and Secretary of the California Health and Human Services, Dr. Mark Ghaly, have both admitted outdoor dining is not the source of coronavirus spread.
Furthermore, Judge Wohlfeil ruled in December that restaurants can reopen because the court, “questions whether there is a rational nexus between the percentage of ICU bed capacity throughout Southern California… and plaintiff’s establishments in San Diego County.”
The State of California appealed that ruling, and restaurants were forced to shutdown again when a stay was put in place.
State Senator Shannon Grove posted the clip of Dr. Ghaly confirming that there is no data showing that outdoor dining is causing the spread of COVID-19.
More information about Blakespear’s enforcement efforts were outlined on her website, or you can read them below:
On this final day of 2020, with the Regional Stay Home order now extended indefinitely, I want to share an update on the status of this deadly virus in Encinitas, specifically what’s happening with enforcement, schools, the vaccine and New Year’s parties.
Today’s news is that the city will be suspending sidewalk and street permits for restaurants that are violating the county health order by remaining open. All restaurants need to follow the county’s take-out only requirements. This is a serious health emergency – we all need to do better. More details below.
Bottom line: Case numbers are significantly higher than a month ago; we have widespread transmission in Encinitas and throughout the county; even influenza cases are now rising.
California has the most confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S., with more than 2.2 million cases as of Dec. 30 and nearly 25,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Yesterday the first detected California-case of the U.K variant was found here in San Diego County. A man in his 30s with no recent travel history tested positive with this new strain, which is estimated to be 56% to 70% more transmissible. Although the symptoms are not reported to be more severe, it spreads more easily. Read more in this article from Politico.
All cities in the county of San Diego, including Encinitas, are in the “purple tier,” which is the most restrictive tier (see map below). This means non-essential indoor business operations are closed.
Bottom line: Encinitas will be pulling sidewalk permits from rule-breaking restaurants. If you want to report a restaurant, the Sheriff’s Compliance Team is the enforcing agency. To report violators, citizens can call the compliance team at 858-694-2900.