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Escondido restaurant forced to closed for violating county health orders

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Posted at 4:11 PM, Jun 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-26 19:12:17-04

ESCONDIDO, Calif. (KGTV) — An Escondido restaurant was closed by the county this week after its owner allegedly refused to comply with health orders.

County officials issued a notice to Hernandez Hideaway to close until it is able to adhere to coronavirus-related health orders for social distancing and sanitation standards.

The order states that shortly after the county authorized restaurants to reopen on May 21, the county's Department of Environmental Health conducted an inspection on May 29 and found social distancing and sanitation protocols were not in place, and employees were not wearing facial coverings.

On June 12, 21, and 23, San Diego Sheriff's deputies visited the restaurant and asked for voluntary compliance.

Owner Rick Stevens declined to comment to ABC 10News.

"Mr. Stevens admitted that he was not compliant and state he will continue to operate without these COVID preventative measures and will not require staff to wear face coverings," the ordered stated, referencing a June 23 visit by county officials.

In order to reopen, the restaurant will have to prepare a revised reopening plan and submit it to the county for approval.

This is the county's second restaurant forced to close in violation of health orders. In May, Pacific Beach's El Prez was closed by the county after social media videos surfaced showing crowds of guests, many not social distancing or wearing facial coverings.

El Prez has since reopened with new policies to ensure it adheres to the public health orders on distancing, masks, and sanitation.