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Pine Valley restaurant receives community support after refusing to close indoor dining

Posted at 11:23 AM, Nov 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-16 14:23:35-05

PINE VALLEY, Calif. (KGTV) - A Pine Valley restaurant owner is defying San Diego County orders to move his restaurant outside, saying he will continue to ignore the purple tier rules to keep his business afloat.

When it was announced that San Diego County would move into the more restrictive purple tier, Major’s Diner owner Larry McNamer told ABC 10News he had plans to stay open inside, even though all restaurants are required to move outside completely. He stayed true to his word, operating indoors, saying he still follows social distancing practices, but needs the inside space because his restaurant is only open for breakfast and lunch, and the winter months bring temperatures in the 30s for the mountain community.

“They’re saying they wanted us back outside and we said no absolutely not, not going to do it,” said McNamer.

RELATED: "We are over it." Pine Valley restaurant plans to defy county order

He said after his plans to stay open inside were shared with the community, people made a point to order from him the first weekend in support.

“We had people coming in from the North County saying they were coming in just to support us for staying open. It was really nice to see that there was a lot of people that care about the businesses and want us to stay open and are willing to fight alongside us for this thing,” McNamer said.

He added that in the first two days of openly defying the tier, the only interaction he’s had with the County or officials has been one call from his health inspector.

“He was just wondering what our intentions really were. His boss had asked him to call me and ask where we’re standing on this,” said McNamer.

McNamer said he has no plans to close his indoor operations, even if he receives warnings. He said if the County decides to fine him, they won’t be receiving any money from him.

“Great, bring it on. I can barely pay my bills now, where do you think that money is going to come from. You won’t get it,” he said.

He is not alone. Other business owners in San Diego have similar frustrations. A reopen rally is set for Monday afternoon at the County Administration Building. A flyer for the event says the plan is to meet at Time Out Sports Tavern at 2:30 then walk to the Administration Building, with a rally there planned for 3:30 p.m.

RELATED: San Diego County politicians vie to reopen businesses in purple tier