SDPD officers are shown in photo sitting inside La Jolla cafe; COVID-19 order prohibits onsite dining

SDPD patch

A photo published on a local dining and entertainment news website shows several San Diego Police Department officers gathered around an indoor dining table without masks at a La Jolla cafe amid COVID-19 restrictions prohibiting onsite dining.

The photo, which said was captured at about 8 a.m. Dec. 10, shows at least five officers sitting close together inside Cafe Vahik on La Jolla Boulevard near Windansea Beach. The photo does not show the tabletop, including any dishes or cups to indicate whether they were eating or drinking.

A recent state order bans onsite dining, both indoors and out, in regions where hospital intensive care capacity has dropped below 15 percent. The order applies in the Southern California region, including San Diego County.

Police Lt. Shawn Takeuchi said the department became aware of the photo Dec. 10 and called the situation “unfortunate.”

“The officers should not have been eating inside the business, which is a violation of the current county health order,” Takeuchi wrote in an email. “We understand the seriousness of COVID-19 and that we all must do our part to prevent the spread of the disease. An investigation was started immediately into this situation.”

The owner of the cafe declined to comment about the photo Dec. 12, saying he was too busy with the lunch rush. ◆