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Not Realistic Standards’: San Diego Politicians Want To Decide How To Reopen Businesses

Oceanside Councilmember Christopher Rodriguez and two dozens residents gather...

Photo by Matt Hoffman

Above: Oceanside Councilmember Christopher Rodriguez and two dozens residents gathering at MetroFlex Gym in Oceanside on May 11, 2020, to show support for its owner, who was cited for opening over the weekend in violation of San Diego county health orders forbidding certain businesses from opening during the pandemic.

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Political leaders in San Diego says state requirements to reopen businesses are too strict. Meanwhile businesses in Oceanside plan to reopen in violation on local health orders.

Aired: May 12, 2020 |

San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer are telling California Governor Gavin Newsom requirements to reopen businesses are too strict.

In a joint letter to Newsom on Monday, Cox and Faulconer pointed to readiness criteria to reopen businesses, such as having no COVID-19 related deaths in the last 14 days.

Such requirements, they said, "are not realistic standards that can be met anytime soon."

Cox and Faulconer said if reopening restrictions are not eased, our local economy will continue to suffer.

"Requirements like this could very well ensure major parts of our economy are shut down indefinitely until therapeutics and vaccines are available to the general public," the letter said.

Reported by Matt Hoffman , Video by Mike Damron

Cox and Faulconer said the state's current approach has frustrated millions of workers struggling to makes ends meet. The pair are telling the governor they have worked with businesses and labor leaders on a plan that balanced public safety and the need to get back to work.

"Our businesses are ready to thoughtfully reopen and adapt with necessary protective measures," the letter said. "But they (businesses) need to be provided that opportunity."

Meantime, in the North County, one politician is saying he's had enough.

"We want to protect public safety but we have to survive and there’s no other choice but open and to provide," Oceanside City Councilmember Christopher Rodriguez said Monday.

Rodriguez put out a letter over the weekend encouraging owners to reopen their businesses if they feel comfortable doing it. The mayor of Oceanside, Peter Weiss, responded on Saturday saying that is not the official position of the city, and everyone must follow public health orders.

"Neither the city council, nor individual council members have the authority to direct any business to violate county health orders," Weiss' letter read.

Rodriguez and about two dozens residents gathered at MetroFlex Gym in Oceanside on Monday to show support for its owner, who was cited for opening over the weekend in violation of county health orders.

Governor Newsom said gyms will reopen as part of "phase 3" of the state's plan to ease restrictions. Newsom said that could happen in a month or less, but the owner of MetroFlex is already planning to reopen again on Wednesday, in coordination with councilman Rodriguez.

"We’re opening Wednesday because Chris is having a ton of businesses in Oceanside — I think he said 100 businesses reopen by then and we're going to be one of those businesses," MetroFlex owner Lou Uridel said, "to stand united with Chris."

Oceanside Police said MetroFlex is the first non-essential businesses to be cited for staying open in the city.

Listen to this story by Matt Hoffman.

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San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox and San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer are telling California Governor Gavin Newsom requirements to reopen businesses are too strict. Also on KPBS’ San Diego News Matters podcast: Southwestern Community College has been lauded for its restorative justice program, but its work has been upended by the coronavirus, how telework during the coronavirus pandemic may ... Read more →

Aired: May 12, 2020 | Transcript

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Matt Hoffman
General Assignment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a general assignment reporter for KPBS. In addition to covering the latest news and issues that are relevant to the San Diego community, I like to dig deeper to find the voices and perspectives that other media often miss.

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