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San Diego enforcing bar and restaurant orders on St. Patrick's Day

What is usually hopping with crowds, the Gaslamp Quarter was eerily quiet with no customers, bars or restaurants open to celebrate

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — The first night under San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s executive order to close bars and restrict restaurants during the coronavirus pandemic was Tuesday night, on St. Patrick's Day - one of the biggest party nights of the year.

News 8 has received calls about business violating the order, but bars and restaurants complied. San Diego police officers were out doing compliance checks in Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, North Park, and Gaslamp Quarter. Officers said it’s mostly for educational purposes.

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“We are just going to ensure that no one else needs further education about the law and ensure with compliance with what the county public health officer is telling us that we need to be confined,” said San Diego Police Lt. Shawn Takeuchi.

The mayor’s executive order calls for all bars to close and restricts restaurants to pickup, delivery or drive-thru -- dining-in is prohibited. The order is in effect until March 31.

No violators yet but police said this enforcement is more about education, however, repeat offenders will be charged with a misdemeanor.

“We don’t think we will need to do that. Education alone and presenting the notice that the public health officer has given is going to be enough,” said Takeuchi.

Sheriff Gore is also changing jail booking procedures adding that misdemeanor marijuana and social host offenders will not be jailed but ticketed and released.