Newport Beach revokes temporary use permit for Peninsula Kitchen and Bar

The Peninsula Kitchen and Bar with parking in front.
The city of Newport Beach on Sunday revoked an emergency temporary use permit that allowed the Peninsula Kitchen and Bar to operate outdoors. City officials said code enforcement saw multiple violations of stipulations that come with that permit.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

A restaurant in Newport Beach had its emergency temporary use permit allowing for expansion of outdoor dining revoked this weekend, the only establishment to lose the permit since the implementation of the city’s Fast Track Back to Business Initiative in late May.

City officials said Wednesday the owners of the Peninsula Kitchen and Bar, also known as the Peninsula Lounge, were notified Sunday that the city would be revoking its permit, which allows businesses and religious institutions to temporarily expand into parking lots, sidewalks or other adjacent private or public property.

Officials said this is the restaurant’s second such revocation, the first being in July. Owners appealed the first revocation successfully and were able to continue operation after the hearing.

Orange County restaurants, movie theaters, places of worship and museums can resume indoor operations at 25% capacity, while fitness centers must be limited to 10% capacity.

City spokesman John Pope said that city staff and code enforcement officers witnessed numerous violations of the temporary use permit’s conditions, which included the usage of indoor space for dancing and alcohol consumption; violation of occupancy limits for outdoor patio space; violations of the 9 p.m. closure times; and calls for police service as a result of outdoor alcohol consumption.

City staff also said that the restaurant made “no attempt to practice social distancing or require face coverings by patrons and staff.”

“The vast majority of restaurants and businesses are complying with the conditions of their emergency temporary use permits under the ‘Back to Business’ program and [state] guidelines,” Pope said. “However, the permits can be revoked if restaurant owners are found to be operating unsafely, in violation of the terms and conditions or guidelines.”

Restaurant owners declined to comment on Wednesday, but the Peninsula Lounge reports on OpenTable and Yelp that staff are required to wear face masks and temperatures are checked. It also states that surfaces are sanitized, seats are limited and tables are spaced in accordance with social-distancing requirements.

Reported operation hours vary across websites.

Restaurants, movie theaters and places of worship can resume indoor operations with modifications after the county moved from the purple tier to the red tier in California’s coronavirus guidelines.

City staff said that though the permit was revoked, it only affects the restaurant’s outdoor dining but not the indoor dining due to Orange County moving this week to the “substantial” red tier from the “widespread” purple tier in the state’s new guidelines for reopening. As part of that, restaurants are allowed to resume indoor operations at either 25% capacity or 100 people, whichever number is less, and close by 10 p.m.

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