SANTA ANA (CBSLA) — The owner of a Costa Mesa bar has been charged with illegally operating during the coronavirus pandemic, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.
Roland Michael Barrera, who owns the Westend bar, is facing a misdemeanor count of violating and neglecting to obey a lawful order and regulation for allegedly operating during curfew hours.
Barrera, a 47-year-old Costa Mesa resident, allegedly repeatedly refused to adhere to an order mandating that all nonessential businesses close between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., despite repeated efforts by law enforcement and city code enforcement officers to educate him on the law and seek voluntary compliance, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
According to the office, the bar at times hosted 50-70 customers without enforcing social distancing or facial coverings for employees or customers in violation of state and local public health orders.
“It is unacceptable for a business to repeatedly flaunt the regulations and continue to operate without even attempting to institute any mitigating measures that are designed to save lives,” District Attorney Todd
Spitzer said in a statement. “This is not just any business. This is a business that was provided opportunity after opportunity to take corrective action and it has failed to do so.
“This blatant disregard of the local and state health orders is a slap in the face to hardworking business owners who continue to try to the do the right thing during these extremely trying times,” he continued.
This is the first case to be filed by the O.C. DA’s office against a business owner in connection with local health orders.
Additionally, the bar’s manager, 26-year-old Luisza Giuletta Mauro of Huntington Beach, was charged with one misdemeanor count of resisting a police officer for allegedly trying to prevent the officer from entering the business the night of Dec. 12.
Both Barrera and Mauro are scheduled to be arraigned June 22 at the West Justice Center in Westminster. They each face up to a year in jail if convicted as charged, according to the DA’s office.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)