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County orders San Diego strip club to cease and desist

SPacers Showgirls International in the Midway District.
Pacers Showgirls International in the Midway District has been ordered by the county to cease live entertainment.
(Nelvin C. Cepeda/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Directive comes days after Padres outfielder was stabbed outside Pacers Showgirls International

Three days after Padres outfielder Tommy Pham suffered a stab wound outside a Midway district strip club, the county health department delivered a short, but strongly-worded cease-and-desist order Wednesday.

Sent to Peter Balov, manager of Midway Venture, the Garden Grove company that owns Pacers Showgirls International, the communique accuses the San Diego establishment of “conducting live entertainment” in violation of local public health orders.

“I appreciate the impact these restrictions have on your business,” wrote Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego’s public health officer. “However, as the responsible party for your facility, it is your duty to ensure that there is compliance with the orders.”

San Diego County served this order on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020.

Failure to stop entertaining on the property, Wooten added, “may result in criminal misdemeanor citations with a $1,000 fine for each violation.”

Beyond fines, the county could order the facility closed.

It would not be the first local closure order since the long-running coronavirus pandemic began. In May, citing a viral video of patrons partying inside its walls without masks, Wooten ordered the El Prez restaurant and bar in Pacific Beach to close.

Roughly one month later, Wooten ordered Hernandez Hideaway in Escondido to shut down after the restaurant’s owners, according to the health department, failed to enforce health orders that require social distancing and mask wearing.

In late July, Metroflex Gym in Oceanside received a closure notice after the business and its owner openly defied orders.

Strip clubs, as health officials explained Tuesday, occupy a complicated niche where the current set of public health restrictions are concerned. Most serve food and drink and thus, under current regulations, are allowed to serve outdoors and also use up to 25 percent of their indoor space, provided that social distancing and mask-wearing rules are followed. However, live entertainment is not allowed.

According to the Padres, Pham is out of the hospital and recovering. A.J. Preller, the team’s general manager, said Wednesday that he believes the player was the victim in Sunday’s altercation.


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