SDPD begins enforcement of COVID-19 closures at request of Mayor Gloria

Written by Michael Palomba

As requested by Mayor Gloria the San Diego Police Department has started cracking down on businesses that violate the state’s shutdown order. According to Gloria’s Deputy Chief of Staff, dozens of restaurants have been contacted and many others have been cited.

NBC 7 spoke to several people in Little Italy who expressed frustrations about the inconsistency of enforcement measures.

“One of my places that I got to, they had outdoor tables where you could do takeout, but this week they don’t. But then there’s one place that has almost regular table service and it’s still going,” said Ilyse Rathet.

Francesco Bucci, owner of Pappalecco Café, said the Health Department paid him a visit and told him to remove his outdoor tables. He complied with the request, but a few days later SDPD showed up at his restaurant about a noise complaint.

“I cannot prevent people from having coffee standing here, right there where the trashcan is. If they want to hug each other it’s not my problem, if they want to stay close to each other, standing. We do not provide tables, we do not provide chairs,” explained Bucci.

“I don’t know if at this point someone is breaking the law or not, but it’s pretty clear there are tables around,” he continued.

What Bucci is likely seeing are some of the businesses participating in a constitutionally protected, peaceful protest. Over 350 restaurants and businesses are open throughout the county in protest of Gov. Newsom’s stay at home order. Bucci will probably continue to see restaurants with tables out because the restaurants participating in the protest have said they are ready to sue if city or state officials try and shut them down.