UPDATE (1/26): The ordinance that the City Council passed earlier this month adopting the regional stay at home order and allowing code enforcement to issue citations to violators has expired after the state announced on Monday that it lifted the order, according to the city.
CORRECTION: The city will not be citing customers at restaurants that are offering indoor dining. Only business owners will be fined.
UPDATE (1/19): Delano City Council voted to pass the ordinance, which will allow code enforcement to issue citations to adults at large gatherings. Delano is the first city in Kern County to create such a law.
Here’s what the ordinance will do:
- It will last up to 28 days but may be renewed by the City Council.
- It prohibits indoor services at restaurants and salons. Restaurants are limited to delivery and take-out orders only.
- Local code enforcement will issue citations to adults at outdoor gatherings of ten or more people from different households. The first offense would cost $100, the second would be $200 and the third jumps to $500.
- Retail stores are limited to 25 percent capacity and grocery stores are limited to 35 percent capacity.
DELANO, Calif. (KGET) – COVID cases continue to surge- and local lawmakers want to really crack down on large gatherings. Delano might become the first city in Kern County to start punishing businesses that aren’t complying with the governor’s stay at home order.
It’s been almost a year since Governor Gavin Newsom issued the first state-wide stay at home order. Kern County never fully implemented the governor’s recommendations. But now – Delano might be the first city in the county to start actually enforcing social distancing through a city ordinance.
“This is probably something we should’ve done a long time ago,” said Joe Alindajao, Delano City Council member. “But I think we can still do something to help protect people and save lives, and I think it’s an important piece of ordinance or legislation if you will.”
The city council introduced this ordinance almost a month ago. They were supposed to vote on it in a zoom meeting a couple weeks later. But the council had to postpone the vote because there wasn’t enough space for the hundreds who wanted to join.
“We spoke to businesses, we got their concerns,” said Salvador Solorio-Ruiz, Delano City Council member. “A lot of them said we will abide by the orders but it’s got to be a level playing field, everyone has got to do it.”
Just minutes ago – the City Council began a new meeting. They’ll discuss and vote on the ordinance at the end.
“It’s going to be a really tough decision, but I think that to do nothing, to sit back and do nothing is not acceptable. Our primary concern and responsibility as council members is to protect the community.”
Its details are subject to change, but for now this is what the ordinance entails: It would be in effect only 28 days, although the City Council could vote to renew it. It calls upon local code enforcement to crack down on gatherings of more than ten people from different households. This can be in outdoor spaces, restaurants, and salons.
“If a community member sees someone they can report it,” Solorio-Ruiz said. “Or when code enforcement is driving about and see someone violating the ordinance, if they see a large gathering, they will stop and do it.”
Any adults present at these gatherings would have to pay a fine. Business owners and customers are included – but not employees. The first offense would cost $100. The second would be $200 and the third jumps to $500.
“If it is enacted or at least discussed, then I hope this is a message for every city in Kern County to let them know that we need to do something,” Solorio-Ruiz said. “We can’t just sit back and hope the virus goes away.”
We’ll continue to watch that City Council meeting and post an update once a decision is made.