SAN DIEGO (KGTV)-- From New Year’s Eve through January third, San Diego Police officers contacted more than 100 businesses in violation of the county’s public health order.
While dozens of businesses were visited by officers in the City of San Diego, police issued only seven citations to repeat violators.
Six citations were linked to restaurants operating outside of the health order, while one was given to the host of a large warehouse party in Miramar.
A spokesperson for San Diego Police said officers are still focusing on education first when they find a business owner or host in violation of current orders, but officers will give citations to repeat violators.
Each violation carries a fine of up to $1,000 if the individual cited is found guilty.
San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria signed an executive order last week and called for stricter enforcement of the health orders, as COVID-19 cases and deaths continued to rise.
“Numerous large gatherings were also dispersed thanks to the efforts of police. While the vast majority of residents and businesses are doing their part to stop the spread, the City of San Diego will continue to pursue those who actively choose to endanger the health and safety of their neighbors and customers,” said Nick Serrano, the mayor’s Deputy Chief of Staff, in a statement.
Many businesses have been following all the guidelines, although it has been rough for some.
Cloak & Petal, a Little Italy restaurant, is only offering takeout to comply with the restrictions, but Cesar Vallin, the managing partner, said he believes some small businesses are being treated unfairly.
“It’s not an even playing field,” said Vallin. “I just went to the store the other day, and it was packed inside of this Target.”
Vallin said after the last round of restrictions, he had to lay off 10 to 15 employees.
“It’s difficult because you care about these individuals, and they’re not just staff members,” he said.
Vallin said he expects to continue complying with the health order but wants to see the city make some changes.
“We’re not here to make things more difficult,” he said. “I feel that if our government was a little bit more transparent and a little bit more fair and ‘hey we’re going to treat everyone the same, big business, small business,’ you wouldn’t hear a complaint out of my side,” he said.