Video of crowd at El Prez
Supervisor Nathan Fletcher shared this video from social media showing a crowd at El Prez. Image from live stream

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher shared video Friday of a crowded restaurant in Pacific Beach and announced that it and others flouting coronavirus health rules will be closed.

“Seeing this in the first hours of our stay-at-home order being modified to allow in-person dining, we simply cannot tolerate such blatant and intentional violations of the public health order,” said Fletcher at a county media briefing.

The El Prez Beach Bar & Cocina at 4190 Mission Boulevard was served with a public health order on Friday closing it effective immediately.

Restaurants were permitted to resume dine-in service on Thursday, but with physical distancing rules and a requirement that patrons wear face coverings except when eating. The social media video shows a crowded bar scene with no distancing and few face coverings.

Fletcher said the county prefers to work collaboratively with businesses, but could not do so in this case because “one bad actor could ruin it for everyone” as the county reopens.

“We know the overwhelming majority of you have the best of intentions and understand the gravity and challenges of the situation,” he said.

Undersheriff Mike Barnett said law enforcement is concerned about large crowds gathering at restaurants over the Memorial Day weekend and will enforce the public health order if necessary.

He noted that deputies will attempt to educate and gain compliance first, and that only 137 citations have been issued since the stay-at-home order began.

“We are not looking to increase this, but we all need to work together,” he said.

Officials said restaurants and businesses that are not complying can be reported to calling the non-emergency lines at local law enforcement agencies.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.