By Marissa Perlman

STOCKTON (CBS13) — San Joaquin County is seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases, with a more than 50% increase in cases in just two weeks.

Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs pushed to put a mandatory mask policy in place. During a special city council meeting Tuesday, Tubbs said every council member voted against the mask ordinance.

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In a tweet Tuesday evening, Tubbs wrote, “I have serious concerns about our ability to stay open without measures to mitigate the spread, and am disappointed in council’s action tonight.”

Small business owners in Stockton say they can see why the spike is happening in San Joaquin County, but they don’t want to be the first county who could be at risk of closing once again.

“As a small business owner, I don’t want my business to close down again. We’re doing everything we can so our doors stay open,” said the owner of a hair salon in Stockton.

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Mayor Michael Tubbs told CBS13 why he was fighting for the mask ordinance.

“Our cases have continued to rise because more people are hospitalized than ever before, and we don’t know why people aren’t wearing masks,” said Tubbs.

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It’s ultimately up to the county on whether they’ll pull back on reopening in light of a spike. To the Board of Supervisors Tuesday, County Health Officer Dr. Maggie Park called any mask policy a “battle she doesn’t want to fight.”

Park said, “From the standpoint of making it an order,  it’s very difficult because there is some that still find it highly controversial. I do know that counties that have made universal masking policies have come across a lot of grief.”

Instead, she plans to launch a public messaging campaign, telling people how to socialize safely. She says the spike is coming from more testing, outbreaks at nursing homes, community transmission at work, businesses reopening, and bigger community gatherings. She’s also now pointing to workers in the agriculture industry.

Since introducing the mask policy, Mayor Tubbs said he’s been told by county leaders to “stay in his lane.”

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“People who are upset they’re like, ‘you’re not a doctor’ and I agree, but we waited three months for a public health official to make the call and she’s refused to do so,” he said.

Marissa Perlman