Fresno and Clovis issued orders Tuesday afternoon to close dine-in portions of restaurants in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
One day after the Fresno City Council ratified Mayor Lee Brand’s State of Emergency order, the city — through city manager Wilma Quan — will limit restaurants to drive-through, delivery, and takeout.
The order also applies to food courts. Costco, a popular members-only location known for its $1.50 hot dog/soda combo, eliminated tables to prevent patrons from sitting and congregating.
Monday, the city of Fresno said it would follow a state directive to close bars/pubs and wineries.
No More Liquor Licenses as Well
Quan’s order also prevents the city from issuing special event permits and temporary liquor licenses.
The Fresno Police Department and city code enforcement will be responsible for enforcing the order. Violators could be punished with a misdemeanor and/or $1,000 fine.
All orders will remain in effect until repealed by Quan or the city council.
Restaurant Association Concerned
“There is no sugarcoating that. It is a very, very difficult time right now for restaurant businesses,” Shams said.
Shams said restaurants, many of which are family or independently owned, will have to utilize curbside pickup or delivery.
“We think that that’s a wise decision, because moving forward, we think that consumers are going to need to use those avenues in order to have enough access to daily meals,” Shams said.
She said that families may be relying on more meals because of school closures, meaning children will be home more often.
Shams estimates that 1.6 million people work in the restaurant industry. She’s unsure how many will be left standing when the emergency orders are lifted.
“What we’re hoping for is some sort of relief both from federal government and from state governments that would allow these businesses to hibernate,” Shams said.
Councilman Disagrees with Order
“This is going beyond that which is destroying people’s livelihood which I disagree with.” — Councilman Garry Bredefeld
“(The city) had the ability (for restaurants to have) an occupancy of 50 percent and social distancing, which was good common sense,” Bredefeld told GV Wire. “Now, we are shutting down and putting the staff (in jeopardy) … you have to find the right balance. This is going beyond that which is destroying people’s livelihood which I disagree with.”
Bredefeld is unsure if there is enough will on the council to reverse the order.
Similar Order in Clovis
Earlier today, Clovis — through city manager Luke Serpa — issued a similar edict.
“We understand these are challenging times for our local business. We encourage you to consider a local restaurant’s take-out and delivery options when making your dining choices,” a Clovis news release says.