The cities of Coronado and El Cajon are 20 miles apart, but their mayors are side-by-side in their stance on the new statewide indoor mask mandate.
"Actually, we're not going to be doing anything to enforce it,” El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells told NBC 7 Wednesday.
And on the island:
“We’re not actively patrolling and monitoring the small business community for enforcement of the state mask mandate," Coronado Mayor Richard Bailey said.
Bailey believes the state should provide the resources to enforce the mandate it issued.
“You have a police officer standing outside of a restaurant making sure that a 16-year-old hostess is asking for all of their guests to put their cloth mask over their nose as they enter the restaurant, only to take off their cloth mask. I don't think it's a good use of police resources,” explained Bailey.
“We’re telling our police to make COVID related calls the lowest priority," Wells said. “I just feel that our businesses and our people have had enough, that the damage that's been done by masking, and by vaccine mandates and by shutting businesses down has been so immense that I’m not going to participate in that."
Wells took the same approach the last time a similar mandate was issued, drawing applause from some in the business community. But the owner of Enhanced Beauty in El Cajon says no mask, no manicure.
”They’re doing it for a month. Just do it. With the holidays, you're around people, you don't know where they've been. They've been traveling and you don't know if they have COVID," said Yene Fores.
“I feel it’s your choice, if you want to wear the mask. Some people don’t. I feel the workers should," explained Sebastian Sanchez at Hacienda’s in El Cajon.
The California Department of Health released a statement noting exemptions for counties like San Francisco because of their masking order that's been in place since August.
The statement reads in part "…stable cohorts of 100% fully vaccinated people in select settings like workspaces and gyms will continue to be allowed to remove masks when the necessary safety measures have been met."
“I think it really kind of begs the question, you know, what is the state's endgame?” Bailey asked. “When do we return to normal? What metrics are going to be used to determine when this public health emergency that has now been in effect for almost two years -- When does that actually go away? How will we know?"
Mayor Bailey says the Coronado Police Department will take an educational approach to any business that is reported as opposed to issuing citations.
Mayor wells said because he’s instructed masking calls to be low priority for ECPD, officers will likely only respond if there’s an altercation taking place.