San Luis Obispo bars and restaurants temporarily ordered to stop selling alcohol

Mar 16, 2020

Saint Patrick’s Day is upon us and in San Luis Obispo, that usually means crowds of revelers and Cal Poly students hitting the downtown bars and restaurants for some serious partying, starting early in the morning. But in this new reality of the coronavirus pandemic, that’s not going to be the case this year.

All bars and restaurants in San Luis Obispo cannot serve alcohol for the next few dozen hours—from Monday at 5 p.m. to Wednesday, March 18 at 12:01 p.m.

In partnership with the city’s administration, San Luis Obispo County administrative officer Wade Horton has issued that executive order.

“We are looking at opportunities where we can provide some relief towards businesses,” Horton said at a Monday afternoon press conference announcing the new directive, adding that the relief may be something like the county delaying business taxes and fees.

Horton said St. Patrick’s day celebrations usually result in packed bars in downtown San Luis Obispo, potentially contributing to the spread of COVID-19.

Horton also said business owners will be in legal trouble if they do not comply with the order.

“It’s a misdemeanor,” Horton said. “We’re not looking to fine people, we’re looking to keep our community safe and we hope businesses comply with that.”

The local move came despite California Governor Gavin Newsom calling Sunday for all bars to close across the state. A city spokesperson says local officials wanted to ensure public health by going above and beyond the governor’s guidelines.