San Diego County shuts down crowded Pacific Beach restaurant – Los Angeles Times

Restaurant News

San Diego County shut down a Pacific Beach restaurant and bar Friday after video emerged of crowds flouting the county’s public-heath orders, which require patrons to practice social distancing.

During the county’s daily briefing Friday, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher played a video of crowds Thursday at El Prez on Mission Boulevard a few blocks south of Grand Avenue. The crowds gathered on the first day that San Diego County restaurants were allowed to reopen for in-person dining.

“We simply cannot tolerate such blatant and intentional violations of our public-health order,” Fletcher said, calling it “one of the most egregious” violations he had seen.

The facility, he said, would “remain closed until further notice.”


In a statement, the restaurant said its reopening made it clear that management needs to take even greater measures “to ensure that our customers, employees and community are safe.”

El Prez

An employee closes the windows at El Prez shortly after it was ordered shut down ahead of Memorial Day weekend in San Diego. A man later came to the window, identifying himself as the manager and shouted out to the photographer, “We’re not open thanks to journalists.”

(Sam Hodgson / San Diego Union-Tribune)

The restaurant plans to work with county officials and law enforcement on how to best move forward “in the safest manner possible” and has devised new rules that employees and customers will need to abide by.

“We ask our patrons to help us respect and adapt to these mandatory rules,” the statement read. “We recognize there will be a learning curve for them, too.”


The additional protocols include new signage to better encourage social distancing in lines leading to the restaurant, and the addition of a security guard who will remind people of the rules.

Customers will be allowed to enter only if there is a table available and must wear masks.

“And if these don’t work, then we’ll continue to pivot as necessary to ensure we’re doing the best we can, putting the safety of our customers, employees and community at the forefront,” the statement read.


Fletcher said it is the only restaurant the county closed for such violations.

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