SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Starting Friday until the end of March, large gatherings of 250 people or more are banned in San Diego County in order to protect the public and slow the rate of coronavirus cases.

"We are issuing a public health order in the county of San Diego, effective midnight tonight, that any gathering of 250 or more people is banned in effect through the end of March," said San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher.  

On Thursday night, just hours before the ban kicked in, the Gaslamp Quarter Association told News 8 restaurants, bars, and businesses would comply with health official orders. Businesses would also take any measures to provide safety and security for the community. 

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San Diego health experts also recommended that individuals in gatherings under 250 people should implement a social spacing of at least six feet.

Business owners said they've never seen such drastic public measures, but will do the best they can to keep business going. 

Raymond Davoudi, CEO and President of GBOD Hospitality Group said business is always busy on the weekend at his multiple bars and restaurants, but once the order goes into effect, he’ll take extra precautions and monitor capacity closely. 

If you’re planning on attending an event in downtown San Diego, you can check the event planner at for cancellations.

The ban kicks in a day after the city and county of San Diego declared public health emergencies and announced five new presumptive positive coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer joined Morning Extra to talk about San Diego's response to the virus and what San Diegans should be doing to stay safe.