Data will guide COVID-19 enforcement as county beefs up local response to violators

Coronavirus

SAN DIEGO – San Diego County leaders plan to utilize more data to guide enforcement of COVID-19 restrictions as part of a vote Tuesday intended to crack down on those violating public health rules.

San Diego County Supervisor Joel Anderson during a Jan. 12, 2021 meeting of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. In the meeting, Anderson called for the use of more scientific, medical data to be used when enforcing public health rules.

The county’s Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 in favor of expanding the scope of enforcement and potentially penalizing egregious violators of state and local guidelines. In pushing for more scientific medical data, Supervisor Joel Anderson said it could offer more consistency and transparency for businesses.

“One day our playgrounds will be open; the next day they’ll be closed; the next day they’d be open,” Anderson said. “Restaurants will be closed and open.”

According to Anderson, the county will determine its own enforcement criteria based on scientific evidence. It is planned to be announced publicly and applied consistently, he said.

In essence, it will mean the county won’t carry out enforcement action unless the science supports it.

“We’re going to approach it from a very fair and balanced approach that one industry, one person, one business isn’t going to be isolated and targeted,” he said, “but were going to take a scientific approach that is applied to everyone.”

He added, “If the state is arbitrary in their approach, I wouldn’t be surprised if we push back.”

Voting in opposition to the beefed up approach to COVID-19 enforcement Tuesday was Supervisor Jim Desmond. But in a statement, Desmond said he was “glad to see others want to use a data-driven approach fighting COVID-19.”

He also noted in the meeting he believes “all businesses should be able to operate safely.”

“This is much needed and something I’ve been asking for,” Desmond said in his statement. “I will continue to work collaboratively, but I will not be silenced. When I see oppression, arbitrary closures or discrimination against anyone — any organization, any business, any school or any church — I will question it and call for change.”

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