El Cajon mayor: City won't punish businesses who remain open despite San Diego County tier status

Posted at 1:04 PM, Nov 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-12 16:04:25-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- San Diego County businesses have until Saturday morning to make sure they are up to par with the state’s COVID-19 purple tier guidelines, but El Cajon’s mayor said businesses in his city won’t be punished for not abiding by the rules.

Mayor Bill Wells said he’s fielding a flood of phone calls and emails from El Cajon businesses since the county moved into the purple tier earlier this week.

“People are coming up to me saying, ‘We’re not going to close, if we close, we’re never going to reopen.’ And, ‘We don’t want to have issues with the county or state, but we need to feed our family, pay our mortgages,’ and I understand,” Wells said.

Since the pandemic began, the El Cajon City Police Department has already been told to categorize COVID-19 related enforcement calls as a low priority. Wells said that approach will not change this weekend.

“If somebody called and said there was a nail salon or hair cutting place open, we’re not going to go shut them down. We reserve the right to do some enforcement,” said Wells. “If you don’t like the fact that there’s a business open, don’t go in there. That’s fine, you don’t have to go in there. Don’t give into the temptation to control someone’s behavior and if you do, do it in a civil nice way.”

Though he said he understands the concern about the increase in COVID-19 cases, Wells said he believes the attempt to control the spread of the coronavirus shouldn’t be handled like this.

He said, “We’ve had a disease as long as people have been alive, and disease runs its course. Everyone gets exposed, they develop antibodies and they move on; as far as I know we’ve never shut down an entire economy.”

All of the restrictions will go into effect Saturday at midnight.