Video of California drum circle spurs questions about virus rule enforcement

National News

SAN DIEGO (KSWB) – Video from a well-attended San Diego drum circle is drawing questions about enforcement of local public health restrictions on social distancing.

“I could hear it — it sounded like a full band,” said Caleb Bautista, who overheard the gathering while walking home from work late Wednesday.

Few in the video shared on social media are wearing masks or any other face covering, and almost none are social distancing.

The video has surfaced at a time when new positive COVID-19 cases are on the rise, including at places such as the San Diego neighborhood of Pacific Beach, which has seen reported cases nearly double in the past month.

No citations were handed out for violations recorded at the drum circle, according to the San Diego Police Department. In July, the department did not issue a single social-distancing ticket, instead opting to educate potential violators about the public health order.

As of Thursday, San Diego County had tallied 28,668 COVID-19 cases and 558 associated deaths, but public health officials have expressed concern about the steady flow of new cases and community setting outbreaks tied to the virus. Officials recently have been discussing implementing a new safe reopening compliance team as a measure to encourage more compliance by providing additional information about local guidelines.

“(We) are seeing continued outbreaks at businesses and places people gather,” County Supervisor Greg Cox said during a July 22 news briefing. “We need to curtail those outbreaks.”

Bautista speculated that the increase in cases may be due, in part, to the influx of travelers over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, when San Diego-area beaches largely remained open while others in Southern California were closed.

Others wondered about the lack of face coverings observed during late-week beach visits.

“We have noticed for the last month that there’s fewer masks on,” said a Pacific Beach resident who asked to be identified only as Anne.

For Frederick Barney, who is stationed in San Diego, Thursday was his first time at the beach in about five months.

“I didn’t expect to see this many people,” Barney said.

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