Politics of the Red Tier: Some Say Reopenings Not Fast Enough

NBC 7's political reporter Priya Sridhar spoke to elected leaders in our region about their thoughts about San Diego County moving into the red tier

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It's been one year since the pandemic began and in that time we've seen how politicized the debates over mask mandates and restrictions on businesses can get.

Last week, San Diego County moved from the most restrictive purple tier on the state's reopening plan to the slightly less restrictive red tier, and for many elected leaders in our region, like El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells, the loosening of restrictions is long overdue.

"I think we need to ease up on the fear and encourage people to start emerging from their hibernation and going back to life," Wells said.

Wells, along with several other elected leaders in our area attended several "Reopen Rallies" over the last year calling for an end to restrictions and reopening of businesses despite concerns from public health officials that fewer restrictions could lead to a spread of the virus in the community.

Now, Wells says he wants California to follow other states like Texas and Mississippi that have lifted mask mandates.

"I do very much worry about the unintended consequences of shutdowns and masks," he said.

With San Diego County’s shift to the less restrictive red tier, more Balboa Park museums are slated to reopen. NBC 7’s Ashley Matthews has details for you.

Other elected leaders in our area don't share the same viewpoints. Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis of National City is concerned that fewer restrictions could lead to higher positivity rates, at least temporarily, in her community that has had some of the highest positivity rates in our region.

"It's not that we don’t want to open up. It's not that we don’t want certain things to happen, it's that we can because of the essential workers, the people who have been on call since day one in March," she said.

Oceanside Mayor Esther Sanchez says she is excited about moving into the red tier and isn't too worried about any spikes in positivity rates in her area.

"Health has to be our number one consideration, but it's also our businesses and making sure we get through this," she said.

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