ENCINITAS–The City of Encinitas announced Thursday that businesses found operating out of compliance with the current regional Stay at Home Order issued by the State of California are in jeopardy of losing their city-issued encroachment permits, as well as facing hefty county fines.
Encroachment permits have been issued by the city to local businesses to allow for outdoor dining and other activities within the public right-of-way, such as on sidewalks, streets and parking spots. Businesses compliance with all county and state public health orders is necessary for the continued operation within the city’s public right-of-way.
Currently, the state COVID-19 regulations prohibit both indoor and outdoor dining. Several businesses are openly defying these orders. City code enforcement officers have been directed to contact these local businesses to seek voluntary compliance. Those that do not comply will be in jeopardy of losing their public right-of-way encroachment permit.
“These encroachment permits have been an important way to help our local businesses survive when they were forced to pivot to outdoor operations during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mayor Catherine Blakespear said. “Right now, with only take-out allowed we can’t have restaurants using the public right-of-way to violate the county’s health orders.”
There have been over 150,000 documented cases of coronavirus in San Diego County and with 0.0% capacity in the county’s intensive care units, the regions hospitals have been overrun and are struggling to handle the surge of COVID-19 patients.
“Businesses operating in defiance of the Regional Stay at Home Order encourage gatherings outside the household, creating an unsafe environment and an illusion that the rapid spread of COVID-19 is not something to take seriously,” City Manager Pam Antil stated. “We all hope for an end to the pandemic sooner rather than later. In the meantime, we need everyone to comply with public health orders, wear a mask, and support our local businesses by ordering takeout instead of risking in-person dining at this time.”