Ramona Gym First Business Charged For Violating County Coronavirus Health Order
The San Diego County District Attorney's Office charged a business owner for violating the county's public health order that was put in place at the start of the coronavirus pandemic to help mitigate the spread of the virus.
This is the first time a business owner in San Diego County has been charged for violating the county's public health order.
Peter San Nicolas, the owner of Ramona Fitness Center, was charged with five separate counts of refusing to comply with the California Emergency Services Act in a complaint filed Friday.
San Diego County Public Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten said during a Monday news briefing that law enforcement became involved following multiple attempts by the county to get San Nicolas to comply with the public health order.
The San Diego District Attorney's Office issued the following statement:
"We understand and sympathize with the significant hardship placed on businesses who are required to remain closed. But public health orders are in place to safeguard the health of everyone in our community amid this deadly pandemic. Along with our law enforcement partners, we work with businesses to give them opportunities to achieve voluntary compliance. But when the public health order is ignored and the law is broken, the public's health is at risk and we will file charges."
San Nicolas could face up to six months in jail or a $5,000 fine if found guilty.
Gyms were among state businesses that were allowed to reopen June 12, but indoor operations were shuttered about one month later, with Gov. Gavin Newsom citing a surge in COVID-19 cases.
In San Diego County, several gyms have continued to operate indoors in violation of public health orders from the state and county. Many of those businesses have been cited, while county public health officials have also ordered the closures of some gyms for remaining open.