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Restaurant, Retail COVID-19 Outbreaks Decreased During Stay-At-Home Order

Patrons dining in front of Encinitas Cafe on Jan. 3, 2021, which was opened i...

Photo by Alexander Nguyen

Above: Patrons dining in front of Encinitas Cafe on Jan. 3, 2021, which was opened in violation of the regional stay-at-home order.

New data from San Diego County shows that COVID-19 regulations during lockdown led to a decrease in outbreaks and slowed the spread of the virus.

In particular, outbreaks at restaurants, retail spaces and grocery stores in the county fell drastically.

Listen to this story by Jacob Aere.

Reported by Jacob Aere , Video by Photographer: Guillermo Sevilla

UC San Diego Professor of Epidemiology Andrea LaCroix said the steep decrease in outbreaks suggests that people listened to the stay-at-home order and limited trips to local businesses.

“According to the state data they determined that the mobility of people, the movement of people that they track using anonymized data from our cell phones, showed 40 percent less movement in the community in all places,” LaCroix said.

Lt. Shawn Takeuchi of the San Diego Police Department said law enforcement officers followed up on complaints regarding COVID-19 protocols that they received through the office of the mayor, the county or directly to their department.

He stressed that the majority of businesses are in compliance with COVID-19 restrictions.

“Every time there’s a change in what the public has to comply with, what we do as a department is that we go out and make sure that people are understanding or they’re educated about the change in the law and what the requirements are,” Takeuchi said. “If after education compliance wasn’t sought, we did have enforcement as a tool in the form of citations.”

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While many restaurant owners voiced their complaints about the most recent lockdown order, LaCroix said the virus will continue to spread without strict stay-at-home orders.

“If we would just agree to a three week stay at home order, and really stay home for three weeks — including keeping the essential workers at home except for health care and groceries — we could get rid of this pandemic in three weeks,” she said.

Over the course of the pandemic, San Diego County has identified more than 1,100 community-setting outbreaks. Those outbreaks led to roughly three percent of the county's total cases and one percent of county deaths.

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Photo of Jacob Aere

Jacob Aere
Freelance Reporter and Web Producer

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a freelance reporter. In addition to covering the latest news and issues relevant to San Diego, I seek the overlooked voices of our community to tell their stories.

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