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Huntington Beach Mayor Pro Tem Tito Ortiz apologizes after criticizing TK Burgers

TK Burgers of Huntington Beach recently denied service to Mayor Pro Tem Tito Ortiz because he wasn't wearing a mask
TK Burgers of Huntington Beach, pictured on Tuesday, recently denied service to Mayor Pro Tem Tito Ortiz because he wasn’t wearing a mask while inside the establishment.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

Huntington Beach Mayor Pro Tem Tito Ortiz has apologized after posting a video on his Instagram stories Sunday criticizing TK Burgers, a popular Surf City restaurant.

The issue centered around Ortiz’s continued refusal to wear a mask during the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m really emotional right now about a lot of things, and I apologized,” Ortiz said Tuesday when reached via phone. “I recanted everything, and that’s pretty much it.”

He declined to comment further.

Ortiz said Sunday in his Instagram stories that TK Burgers, located on Pacific Coast Highway a block south of Main Street, denied him service because he wasn’t wearing a mask.

Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian announced it opened a COVID-19 rapid testing clinic at John Wayne Airport on Monday.

“Every Sunday I always come to TK Burgers,” Ortiz said in the video. "[Today] they won’t let me order unless I have a mask to come in. First time all year that I’ve actually been forced to wear a mask, but I’m not wearing a mask. TK Burgers, you lose my business, you lose H.B.'s business.”

Ortiz apologized for the video in a Facebook post on Monday, saying he made a bad decision and that the restaurant is his favorite burger place in Orange County.

“I let my emotions get the best of me,” Ortiz said in the Facebook post. “I understand this is a small business and I would never want to ruin that business. I apologize to TK Burgers for my decision.”

High winds forced a two-day closure of the Disneyland vaccination site Tuesday, while a batch of Moderna vaccine given to 5,217 O.C. residents is being investigated by the CDC for possibly causing allergic reactions.

TK Burgers employees on Tuesday referred media to the company’s corporate office in Santa Ana. A message seeking comment was not returned.

Ortiz, a former professional mixed martial arts fighter who was elected to the City Council in November with the most votes in city history, has drawn the ire of community members and fellow City Council members for not wearing a mask.

The lifelong Huntington Beach resident attended a strategic planning and goal setting workshop on Jan. 5 from his car in the parking lot of the Huntington Beach Central Library, instead of putting a mask on.

Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr posted pictures of herself and her daughter visiting TK Burgers later Sunday on her Instagram stories, with bags of takeout in their hands and masks on their faces.

“We [love] our local H.B. businesses,” the post read, with the restaurant tagged in the post.

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