City steps up patrols at weekly Ocean Beach drum circle

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SAN DIEGO — Wednesday night in Ocean Beach meant yet another large gathering near Veterans Plaza, but this week, city leaders and law enforcement stepped up patrols and their presence in the area.

“It’s deeply disappointing when people are in flagrant disregard of the public health order from the state as well as from the county,” said Joel Day, a representative for the city of San Diego.

However, instead of jumping straight into citations, the city said this Wednesday largely continued to be about warnings and education.

“We have a responsibility as the city of San Diego to do everything we can before we levy a big thousand-dollar fine and make sure people are reasoned with,” said Day.

On Tuesday, a temporary orange fence was put around a small park where the bulk of the gathering takes place, but within about an hour it was torn down by someone who regularly attends the drum circles.

In a big push from both the city and county of San Diego, several groups came out to aid in the enforcement of the health order, including a code compliance team, parking patrol, police and park rangers.

The main goal was to bring people into compliance by wearing a mask and social distancing, as well as controlling the noise later into the evening.

Citations have been given for things like open containers of alcohol, but so far no citations for violating the health order in Ocean Beach. City officials say they handed out about 500 masks Wednesday to people not wearing them.

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