SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Three gyms, a restaurant, and a Pacific Beach juice shop prompted the most complaints from the public about health order violations, according to 211 data analyzed by ABC 10News.
Of the five businesses with the most complaints, the county has only taken enforcement actions against two, in the form of cease and desist or shutdown orders.
The 211 data reviewed by ABC 10News includes more than 9,400 complaints received from April 3 through July 29.
Number 5: Boulevard Fitness (2110 El Cajon Boulevard)
This gym got 141 complaints, primarily for intentionally operating indoors after Governor Gavin Newsom banned indoor gyms July 13. This week, San Diego Police cited the owner after the gym defied a cease and desist letter from the county.
The owner of Boulevard Fitness could not be reached for comment.
Number 4: The Gym (2949 Garnet Avenue)
The Gym got 158 complaints stretching back to April, with tipsters warning of people bunched close together without masks.
One tipster said in June, “It’s an outbreak waiting to happen. I cannot stress enough that I’m not exaggerating at all.”
The tipster was right. The county ordered the facility to close July 23, but one week later, the county announced it had traced an outbreak back to the facility. An outbreak is defined as three or more infections at one location.
The County confirmed this week The Gym was given permission to reopen with equipment outside.
A staff member at The Gym hung up when ABC 10News asked for comment over the phone earlier this week. A man who appeared to be the owner tried to stop a photojournalist from recording the outside of the building from the sidewalk.
Number 3: Self Made Training Facility (4030 Sports Arena Boulevard)
As of Thursday, Self Made Training Facility continued to operate indoors, according to video captured by ABC 10News.
This gym got 184 complaints, mostly in mid-July after the owner, Matt Pallardy, posted a video directed at “King Newsom” on Instagram.
“This is to let San Diego and everyone know that we will not be closing our doors,” he sai, adding that he encouraged other gyms to do the same.
Pallardy declined an interview, but said in a statement that most of the complaints are from people who have not actually been to the facility. He said the gym takes steps to sanitize equipment and noted that they are not as crowded as a typical gym because they only offer personal training.
The county has not sent Self Made Training Facility a cease and desist or shutdown letter, spokeswoman Tegan Glasheen said Wednesday.
Number 2: Firehouse American Eatery (722 Grand Avenue)
Firehouse American Eatery got 190 complaints, almost entirely after a video surfaced on Reddit June 29 showing a DJ performing on the venue’s outdoor patio. Tipsters noted the tables looked closer than six feet and guests were not wearing masks.
Owner Matthew Spencer thinks a lot of tipsters didn’t know that masks are not required when diners are seated. The video shows a woman standing and dancing without a mask; Spencer said she was quickly asked to sit down.
“I think it was a misunderstanding by the public at the time. It was put on Reddit by someone who wasn’t there, and there you are,” he said in an interview.
Spencer said the county only clarified later that DJs were not allowed. He stressed that the restaurant has been going out of their way to follow all the rules.
“Regardless of your political views, it seems to me you need to follow the rules. It seems to me that following the rules brings the [infection] numbers down. And so to be on this list is really heartbreaking for us,” he said.
Firehouse had no 211 complaints before that incident and three since.
Number 1: Mad Beet (933 Garnet Avenue)
This juice and smoothie shop collected 191 complaints about employees not wearing masks, mostly after a customer posted a video on Facebook July 10 showing two maskless employees.
“I was just dumbfounded this was happening,” said the woman, who asked not to be identified.
“I was like, ‘Why are you guys not wearing masks?’ And she’s like, ‘Well it’s our civic right not to and our employer agrees with our choices.’”
Owner Brian Dunlap declined an on-camera interview but suggested over the phone and by email that it was an isolated issue. “It was just a long weekend in July for us,” he wrote.
However, ABC 10News found two complaints employees failing to wear masks in late April, 13 in May and 11 in June. Several tipsters mentioned that the owner wasn’t wearing a mask either.
Dunlap said the shop has been in compliance since the July 10 incident.
The county has not taken action against them.