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New Coronavirus Restrictions Hit San Diego County This Weekend

People eating outside at Eastbound Bar and Grill in Lakeside, Nov. 11, 2020.

Photo by Roland Lizarondo

Above: People eating outside at Eastbound Bar and Grill in Lakeside, Nov. 11, 2020.

Because of the rising numbers of COVID-19 infections, San Diego County restaurants, gyms, churches and movie theatres have to stop indoor operations by Saturday.

There have already been push backs from business owners as well as some municipalities, such as El Cajon.

Listen to this story by Matt Hoffman.

"I can promise you that people are not going to be complying with this edict and it’s not just in El Cajon. It’s going to be all over the county," El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells said.

Wells has directed the El Cajon Police Department to make COVID-19 related calls a lower priority. He said he is not encouraging businesses to ignore state mandates, but he is standing with owners making the tough decision to do so.

"They’re not doing it because they’re criminals," Wells said. "They’re not doing it because they don't want to hurt anybody. They’re doing it because they have no choice. In their minds that if they do this, they’re going to destroy their future and the future of their children."

RELATED: San Diego Business Owners Weigh Compliance With Closure Orders

Reported by Matt Hoffman , Video by Roland Lizarondo

San Diego City Council President Pro Tem Barbara Bry issued a statement Friday asking for more data about where cases are coming from.

"The public deserves to see the data on where current COVID-19 cases are coming from in order to trust that moving to the most restrictive purple tier will indeed make a difference," Bry said in the statement.

"When the added restrictions take effect on Saturday, the impact on our remaining small businesses will be devastating ... It’s crucial for the public to understand the methodology for targeting these businesses with the more restrictive measures in order to build trust between residents and government."

The San Diego County Health & Human Services Agency does provide a list of cases by zip code and by city of residence. When there is an outbreak (three or more cases) county officials will provide general locations. For example on Tuesday officials said there were five new outbreaks at a "restaurant/bar, business, retail, grocery and school (TK-12)."

KPBS is suing the county for more detailed reports of outbreaks.

In Lakeside, one of the owners of Eastbound Bar and Grill said the idea of closing his dining room again isn't easy.

"I need to start thinking about my staff," owner Marco Rodriguez said. "I can’t lay off another round of employees because I don’t have work for them."

Rodriguez said the state's tiered reopening system is not working for restaurants and it has him constantly on edge.

"We’ve been through this for eight months now to where ... open/close, kind of open," he said. "You close down again and then you're open again."

Eastbound has turned a parking lot into an outdoor patio but it's not the same as indoor dining.

"The financial side is not the best — not the easiest — but it’s what we need to do to keep afloat," Rodriguez said.

He describes the last eight months as a roller coaster ride, adapting to ever-changing restrictions. He’s been putting in long hours at the restaurant and said he’s doing it for the community.

"There’s no way we’re closing our doors (for good)," Rodriguez said. "There’s no way we’re not going to stay here not just for our staff but for Lakeside. This is our town this is where people want to come eat and be with their friends and have some kind of social normality of this 2020 year."

He is hoping that the open-air layout of his restaurant will keep him from having to close.

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Photo of Matt Hoffman

Matt Hoffman
General Assignment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a general assignment reporter for KPBS. In addition to covering the latest news and issues that are relevant to the San Diego community, I like to dig deeper to find the voices and perspectives that other media often miss.

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