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County orders Midway District strip club to cease live entertainment

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

Pacers Showgirls International, outside of which Padres outfielder Tommy Pham was stabbed Oct. 11, is accused of violating local public health orders.

Three days after Padres outfielder Tommy Pham suffered a stab wound outside a Midway District strip club, the San Diego County health department delivered a short but strongly worded cease-and-desist order to the club Oct. 14.

Padres outfielder Tommy Pham is in good condition following surgery for a stab wound in his lower back suffered in an altercation the night of Oct. 11 outside a Midway District strip club, the team and Pham said the next day.

The order, sent to Peter Balov, manager of Midway Venture, the Garden Grove company that owns Pacers Showgirls International, accused the Midway Drive 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 temporarily.

Roughly a month later, Wooten ordered Hernandez Hideaway in Escondido to shut down after the health department said the restaurant’s owners 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, health officials said, occupy a complicated niche regarding the current set of public health restrictions. 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 Oct. 14 that he believes the player was the victim in the Oct. 11 altercation.


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