You’re Taking Away My Right to ‘Live My Life’: San Diego Resident Says of County’s COVID-19 Restrictions

By Li Hai
Li Hai
Li Hai
Li Hai is a New York-based reporter for The Epoch Times.
August 18, 2021 Updated: August 19, 2021

Many San Diego residents attended a county board of supervisors meeting on Tuesday to express their fury and disappointment over the county’s COVID-19 restrictions, such as lockdowns, universal masking requirements, and vaccination mandates.

Mariam, a former health care worker and first-generation Afghan American, told the board that she has been left “completely disappointed” by the county’s decisions in managing public health and COVID-19—the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.

“My family came here from Afghanistan. They ran away from the Taliban, from the rule that they were going to do over us,” Mariam said during the hearing. “You know what you guys are? You’re acting like terrorists.

“I want to live my life. And you guys are taking that away from me, just like they take it away from my people.”

“And I’m going to tell you, I’m a warrior—an Afghan warrior—and we’re not gonna back down because we haven’t backed down and we’re still not gonna back down,” Mariam added.

In June, San Diego County issued a health order (pdf) saying persons and entities may still be subject to California public health guidelines and standards, such as universal indoor masking—regardless of vaccination status—on public transit, in schools, or health care settings. For unvaccinated individuals, mask mandates are required in indoor public settings and businesses.

A mom also told the board that she was speaking up on behalf of her children: “What type of a mother would I be if I could not stand up for my children?”

She said it is important for her school-age children to learn proper annunciation, phonics, and smiles, through “laughter and play.”

“We need to see your smiles,” she said.

“My children and myself will no longer deal with California’s political theater of the masks … We the people have spoken. We will not back down. The silent majority is no longer silent,” the mom continued. “As a mother, I will never back down for my freedom and for the rights of my children.”

Emily Archuleta, another county resident, claimed that mandating vaccines as a condition of employment is in violation of Americans’ constitutional rights and will further hurt the economy.

“We choose what we say, we choose our religion, we choose what we eat, if we drink, if we smoke, if we drive, our sexual orientation, our choice if we choose to have an abortion, how is the choice to have a vaccine different?” Archuleta asked.

“You’re meeting with resistance because you are mandating this,” Archuleta said. “Let people choose.”

Archuleta also noted that people’s right to choose hasn’t been stripped from them in other health epidemics. “Let’s look at obesity, killing 300,000 with many other health consequences, yet we still sell junk food,” Archuleta noted. “We give people the choice to do what they want with their body.”

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A sign reminds people masks are for everyone in Los Angeles, Calif. on July 19, 2021. (Frederic J.Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

One registered nurse, Heather Covell, told the board that she just resigned because of the vaccine mandate introduced for workers in health care.

“I actually resigned from my job yesterday as a registered nurse because of this state mandate to be vaccinated,” Covell told the board.

California announced on Aug. 5 that it is mandating COVID-19 vaccines for all workers in health care settings. All health care workers who won’t have access to virus testing options must be fully vaccinated by Sept. 30.

“I was no problem working in the health care system over the last 18 months without a vaccine. But now, all of a sudden, I’m a threat to public health” Covell said. “Tell me where this makes sense.”

“What you’re doing is you’re creating a health care crisis,” she added. “We already have a nursing shortage in America. So now in San Diego County, I know for a fact, there are several hospitals that are operating on an ‘all bed’ crisis.”

At least 120 people addressed the board of supervisors during the heated four and a half-hour public hearing, KUSI reported. The vast majority of speakers were opposed to the county’s mandating of COVID restrictions like masks and vaccines.

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Students sit behind barriers and use tablets during an in-person English class at St. Anthony Catholic High School during the COVID-19 pandemic in Long Beach, Calif., on March 24, 2021. (Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images)

The board of supervisors and the county’s health and human services agency haven’t responded to a request from The Epoch Times for comment.

At the end of the hearing, Nathan Feltcher, the chair of the five-member board, said that he would continue to trust and rely on the advice of the state’s appointed health care experts and doctors in the face of “pressure and intimidation.”

The board approved some COVID-19-related spending (pdf), including $4.6 million in funds to “establish, expand, and sustain a public health workforce.”

Li Hai
Li Hai
Li Hai is a New York-based reporter for The Epoch Times.