California state senator Brian Jones said the county of San Diego is moving in the right direction in its efforts to restart the economy, but he doesn’t think officials are moving fast enough.
“I still think that some of the regulations that they are coming in with are not based on science or epidemiology,” Jones said. “They are based on a reaction from fear rather than what is really going to keep us safe. I’m not out on a limb on this. [County supervisors] Jim Desmond, Kristin Gaspar are leading the way in San Diego. Obviously Dianne Jacob and Greg Cox agreed with them on the vote on [May 19],” the Republican from Santee said.
The county last week voted to open select businesses, including restaurants, for in-person patronage provided they follow strict safety guidelines that include social distancing and the wearing of face coverings.
In March Gov. Gavin Newsom issued broad stay-at-home directives for individuals and mandated that only essential workers and businesses be allowed to operate. Counties up and down the state followed suit.
The move was intended to slow the spread of COVID-19, a coronavirus that has spread across the globe since last December.
On Memorial Day Newsom issued guidelines for churches and other places of worship to safely reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic, with attendance limited to 25% of building capacity, or 100 attendees, whichever is lower.
The California Department of Public Health laid out guidelines that require social distancing, shortening services, close places of worship for visitation outside of scheduled services, discontinue large gatherings, close children play areas, strongly recommend face coverings, open doors and windows and if able, hold outdoor services, along with several other requirements and recommendations.
Jones said people going to houses of worship is a fundamental right. In a press release on May 27, Jones said that President Donald Trump is right that houses of worship are essential.
“Just like big-box stores can be trusted to open safely for their customers, California’s faith leaders – who care more for their congregants’ safety than anyone – can also safely provide the essential spiritual care their congregants need,” stated Jones. “Californians’ freedom to worship has been infringed, and while the governor has taken a slight step in the right direction, it is nowhere near an adequate restoration of their fundamental rights. What’s missing is a fundamental understanding that faith, religion and its practice, are essential.”