Pacific Beach hospitality workers take charge of personal safety

Posted at 5:55 PM, Nov 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-19 20:55:03-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Pacific Beach alone relies on over 4,000 hospitality workers, often working overnight hours.

Safety concerns while on the job, closing up, or walking home are an unfortunate reality of the industry.

“When you’re out there, and it’s dark, and you can’t see any one thing around you, I can’t tell you how vulnerable you feel, because you’re constantly looking around you," said Marian Novak, Director of the Responsible Hospitality Coalition.

Novak has worked in Pacific Beach since 1991 and currently does responsible beverage training for servers.

She and other hospitality workers signed up for a three-hour class with IMPACT Personal Safety, a nonprofit based out of Los Angeles committed to ending the cycle of violence.

Organized by Discover Pacific Beach, workers were able to learn verbal strategies, awareness skills, and fighting skills.

“When people are intoxicated, they literally don’t make the right decisions," said Lisa Gaeta, founder of IMPACT Personal Safety. “Our philosophy is that once you know you can physically defend yourself, then it’s easier to talk your way out. But if you’re afraid that you’re going to be hurt, it's not so easy, which is why we always teach fighting.”

Attendees at the class say after just an hour they felt more confident and empowered.