Encinitas citations still in effect as COVID-19 restrictions ease


Medical. (Photo by Hush Naidoo, Unsplash)

North Coast Current

Encinitas restaurants, salons, barbershops and other businesses can reopen after California lifted a stay-at-home order under the weight of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic — but with a caveat, according to a city announcement on Monday.

While outdoor restrictions have been eased for eateries, gyms and other merchants as of Jan. 25, businesses that have been found in violation of San Diego County’s coronavirus public health order are still on the hook for cease and desist orders issued in recent weeks when activities were more strictly curtailed.

“Cease and Desist Orders that have been issued to businesses found by the County to be in violation of the Public Health Order, will not be rescinded based on today’s announcement,” the city’s Jan. 25 statement read. “Those businesses will continue to be monitored by the County Safe Compliance Reopening Team and will be allowed to operate to the extent allowable within the Purple Tier.”

Under the state’s Purple Tier, most nonessential indoor activities remain closed. Outdoor activities can resume with modifications, according to California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

“We urged San Diegans to stay at home and most heeded our message,” Dr. Wilma J. Wooten, the county’s public health officer, said in a Jan. 25 update. “Their actions have helped to slow the spread of COVID-19, kept hospitals and health care workers from being completely overwhelmed and, most importantly, saved lives.”

As San Diego County faced a significant increase in COVID-19 cases and deaths at the end of 2020 and into the new year, straining the county’s medical capacity, the region saw significant restrictions under a stay-at-home order.

At the beginning of this year, Encinitas businesses that were not complying with county and state orders faced losing city-issued encroachment permits for activities such as outdoor dining and faced county fines, the city announced at the time.

Restrictions have now been loosened under the Purple Tier as the state predicts improved intensive care unit capacity in the coming weeks for Southern California, according to state and county officials.

“The state’s four-week intensive care unit bed availability projection for the Southern California region, which includes San Diego County, is expected to be above 15%, the threshold that allows regions to exit the (stay-at-home) order,” county officials stated in their daily update Jan. 25.

Even though the improved outlook includes the launch of vaccinations for medical workers, the elderly and others, authorities still emphasized vigilance for the weeks ahead.

“The pandemic is not over, people should continue taking the recommended precautions,” Wooten said in the county’s update.

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