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Pacific Beach bar El Prez reopens with strict rules after health closure

Posted at 3:21 PM, Jun 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-16 20:56:20-04

PACIFIC BEACH, Calif. (KGTV) - El Prez Beach Bar and Cocina in Pacific Beach was shut down by the Health Department in May just one day after San Diego restaurants were allowed to reopen, and a few weeks later, the business is now back open with new rules.

RELATED: Pacific Beach's El Prez shut down for violating health orders

Multiple officials highlighted a video posted to social media that showed a crowded bar with a lack of social distancing and masks, causing the closure. Bar management has worked with the Health Department and the business is now back open with strict guidelines. Patron Matt Holman visited El Prez Saturday, June 13 and said he was pleasantly surprised to see all of the precautions being taken.

“We noticed at the door there was a ‘covid coordinator,’ she looked like she was having an awesome time, kind of regulating everybody, making sure everybody was six feet apart,” he said, noting he witnessed a group get turned away when one person’s temperature was too high.

He also said the rules were strict once inside.

“When you sit down at the table, you can take your mask off, but you’re only allowed to get up from the table if you’re going to the bathroom or if you’re leaving the restaurant, so they were very specific about that,” he said.

A previous statement from El Prez highlighted planned steps for reopening, including:

  • We will have two separate lines to enter the restaurant. One will be for our rooftop and the other will be for our main level. The lines will be organized outside the restaurant and we will have 6’ markers to delineate where customers can stand. There will be no more lines on the main level. And we will have a security guard to remind guests to stand at least six feet of distance between parties and that masks must be worn at all times.
  • All patrons must be served at tables. The tables will be socially distant from each other. There is no standing room inside the restaurant.
  • We will bring on additional staff to ensure masks are worn at all times. If customers do not wear their masks, we will, unfortunately, have to ask them to leave.
  • We will increase signage throughout the restaurant notifying customers of the county’s and state rules. All rules must be complied with or customers will be asked to leave.

Holman said he witnessed strict enforcement of some of these rules.

“We noticed a couple guys who were up mingling with another table and they got booted out by security so looks like fellas, if you’re going to be going down to El Prez, you want to talk to girls, you’re going to have to be yelling at them from your table over some loud music,” said Holman.