SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) – Records from the ABC7 News I team show that since March 22 companies in San Francisco have been temporarily closed for violating coronavirus health regulations.
“It would be a big mistake for people to be on guard now,” said Dean Preston, San Francisco supervisor.
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In the past seven months, 1,414 non-compliance reports (NOVs) have been issued to restaurants, bars, and other food establishments across the city for failing to comply with COVID regulations, according to the San Francisco Public Health Department.
95 percent of these companies have been cited multiple times. Most violations were imposed because of large indoor and outdoor crowds, lack of social distancing, lack of face covering, or alcohol without a bonafide meal.
“That’s the kind of thing we’re educating about, but it shouldn’t be a recurrence problem,” said Maggie Weiland, who oversees the county’s Community Education and Response Team (CERT) that investigates complaints of COVID-19 violations.
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Weiland states that the hotspots for violations are the Marina, North Beach, and Mission districts.
“There were companies that we trained maybe ten times,” she said. “So we’ve created a new standard procedure to ensure that CERT doesn’t run out more than twice.”
The ABC7 I team requested a list from the San Francisco Department of Public Health for every company that was cited multiple times for health violation. However, the county only provided the names of a few companies that declined our interview requests.
Companies that responded included the White Rabbit Bar and Balboa Café in the city’s Marina District. Both companies are part of the PlumpJack group, which is partially owned by Governor Gavin Newsom.
Together, the two PlumpJack companies received 10 documented health order complaints due to issues like crowding, lack of social distancing, and drinking alcohol without a good meal.
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It’s important to note that Newsom has put its ownership of PlumpJack in blind trust. This means that he has no knowledge or role in making business decisions. However, records show that he benefits from each of the companies mentioned.
The ABC7 I team reached out to the PlumpJack Group for further comments and received the following statement:
“We have already addressed concerns about White Rabbit by adding more security and staff to strictly enforce social distancing protocols in our parklet and adjacent areas. We’re not perfect, but we take these concerns very seriously seriously. We will continue. ” To adjust our protocols, when San Francisco reopens, the weather will get warmer and more people will gather in groups, “said Joe Arellano, spokesman for the PlumpJack Group.
“Everyone has to meet these requirements, nobody is above the rules,” said Preston. “By and large most people stick with it, if not it’s a problem.”
At the beginning of the pandemic, Weiland and her team received around 90 complaints a week about violations of the health order. That’s only 15 complaints a week.
“We all have to do our part,” said Wen Geng, owner of Chinese cuisine in the city’s financial district. “If you don’t, it’s not fair.”
Much of the 22 companies that have had to temporarily close since October have since reopened.
The city’s CERT team has started reducing operations at night and on weekends, but continues to support the county during the week.
To file a complaint about health policy violations, dial 3-1-1 to report the situation to the Department of Environmental Health at the Ministry of Health. The CERT team will no longer receive direct complaints, but will continue to assist with enforcement.
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