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San Diego County: Bay cruise company continuing to operate in violation

Posted at 7:36 PM, May 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-26 22:36:25-04

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (KGTV) – A prominent harbor cruise company is continuing to operate despite being cited for violating a County health order.

Tuesday afternoon, 10News took video of Flagship Cruises & Events taking passengers aboard for bay tours even after the company was cited by San Diego Harbor Police over the holiday weekend for violating the County's health order 14C which bans recreational boating unless all the passengers are from the same household.

Tuesday, a company spokesperson sent the following statement to 10News.

“We are part of the Passenger Vessel Association, not recreational boating. They are classifying us under a charter business which is still banned. We DO have a charter business but are not operating any charters at this time. Only public tours and maintaining all safety guidelines set by the city & CDC. We didn’t receive a cease & desist, and will continue to operate our harbor tours & patriot jet boat this week. We open up our dining cruises starting this Friday with Hops on the Harbor – pairing with local brewery, Pizza Port.”

Monday night, the company told 10News it's part 14E of the County health order, not 14C. That section states in part, "other public or private outdoor recreational facilities (other than community pools per State order), including recreational equipment (such as bicycle, boat, kayak, equestrian and surfboard) rentals may be open for limited use."

During Tuesday’s County press conference, Supervisor Nathan Fletcher told 10News, “The rental items that they're alluding [are for] individual use type things like a bicycle or a kayak or a surfboard and so they are not covered under the current public health order,” and added, “If they continue to operate, they are going to continue to be cited.”

Harbor Police say the citation comes with a fine of up to $1,000 and up to a year in jail. Harbor Police say they're documenting each sail the company is doing and incorporating those into the original citation that it sent to the City Attorney's Office.