Oceanside business owners received mixed messages Saturday after one council member encouraged them to open their non-essential businesses, dismissing health and safety guidelines set forth by public officials.
Councilman Christopher Rodriquez, who has been outspoken about the stay-at-home order that temporarily closed non-essential businesses, issued a letter to the public Saturday encouraging business owners to “open immediately.”
“I swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic and I take that oath very seriously,” Rodriquez wrote in his letter. “I’m convinced that the Constitutional rights of Oceanside residents and businesses have been trampled upon and I choose to take a stand.”
Although he encouraged business owners to open, Rodriquez also encouraged them to “follow all social distancing, face mask and sterilization protocols that essential businesses and employees are currently following.”
“Many County Sheriffs and Police Chiefs across our state have publicly refused to make arrests and enforce health orders knowing that they swore an oath to serve and protect the people and to support and defend the Constitution,” Rodriquez wrote.
Rodriquez, who shared his letter on Facebook, which garnered hundreds of comments and shares, received a swift response from Mayor Peter Weiss. Weiss discouraged non-essential businesses from opening without approval from public health officials.
“I would like to remind businesses that they are subject to the San Diego County Health Officer’s Orders regarding business operations,” Weiss wrote in the letter to the public. “The Oceanside City Council did vote to open all businesses as soon as possible, however the latest County Health Order limits business openings. Neither the City Council, nor individual Councilmembers have the authority to direct any business to violate the County Orders.”
Reactions to both letters were mixed on social media. At least one person wrote he would open his business in response to Rodriquez. Others worried Rodriquez’s actions were putting the public at risk.
As of Saturday, there have been at least 4,776 reported cases and 175 deaths related in San Diego County. In the U.S., more than 1.3 million people have been infected while more than 78,000 people have died.
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