San Diego COVID-19 cases up 82% from a week ago prompting concern for businesses

Coronavirus

SAN DIEGO – San Diego County public health officials reported Wednesday another sharp rise in local COVID-19 cases, up 82% from a week ago and mostly being recorded in unvaccinated people.

It mirrors spikes being seen elsewhere in California, leading some municipalities to reinstitute indoor mask mandates and prompting calls from officials for people to get vaccinated. In fact, if California’s tier-based blueprint for lifting coronavirus restrictions were still in place, San Diego County and 16 others would be back in the state’s most-restrictive purple tier.

Some businesses and their customers worry about the possibility of restrictions coming back.

“If you shut down one more time, truly everyone is going to fold,” said Sara Arjmand of Greystone Prime Steakhouse & Seafood. “I know half of our restaurants are small business owners and we can’t make it again.”

Downtown San Diego has come alive in recent months with more people venturing out and about into the summer months. Some masks are still being worn, but most appears to have ditched their face coverings.

“It’s fun to see everyone out and about again and actually be able to go to work and everything,” said Ashlyn Clint of Saltwater Restaurant.

But last week, Los Angeles County announced it’s reimplementing its indoor mask mandate regardless of vaccination status amid a rise in cases and concerns over the delta variant. The new order went into effect as of Saturday. Public health officials in Pasadena and Santa Barbara also are recommending masks indoors for everyone.

Arjmand said she even would consider implementing masks over seeing another local shutdown.

“Vaccination is definitely a choice but if someone decides not to get vaccinated, a mask should be almost mandatory for those who decline vaccination,” she said.

The recent uptick very well may be cause for concern. Local officials continue to encourage vaccinations.

“The best protection we have against COVID-19 is getting vaccinated,” Dr. Wilma Wooten, the county’s public health officer, said in a news release Wednesday. “The vaccines are extremely effective at preventing serious illness from COVID-19. If you have not gotten immunized, do it now.”

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