Fresno will begin to reopen its economy on Monday, May 11, Mayor Lee Brand announced Tuesday.
Brand made the announcement at City Hall after telling city council members of his plans in an emergency closed session meeting an hour before.
He was joined by members of his Fresno Recovery Advisory Committee, including Mayor-elect Jerry Dyer, Fresno Chamber Commerce President/CEO Nathan Ahle, city councilman Mike Karbassi, and former county Supervisor Henry R. Perea.
Nearly all businesses, except for dine-in restaurants, salon/barbershops, and entertainment venues will be allowed to reopen with modified physical distancing.
“We want to protect people and get people back to work as quickly as we can,” Brand said. “We will continue to adjust as we go forward.
“This is the right decision for Fresno at this stage of the pandemic, and I’m thankful to have the assistance of many very smart, caring, and dedicated people who want the best for everyone in terms of public health and economic security.”
Businesses That Will Be Allowed to Reopen
Here is a list of businesses that are eligible to reopen their doors next Monday:
- Auto, truck, boat, motorcycle, RV and mobile home sales
- New construction
- Furniture stores
- Electronics and camera Stores
- Spa and pool stores
- Lawn and garden equipment stores
- Building and remodeling supply stores
Other Businesses Can Sell Online
All other retail businesses may conduct online sales with contactless curbside pick-up or delivery. There is no application process for these businesses to reopen, city officials said.
“Right now, all retailers can do online sales with curbside delivery,” Brand said.
Nonessential businesses have been closed since the city’s and state’s shelter-in-place orders took effect on March 19.
Last Friday, Brand extended the order for the third time through May 31. At the same time, he announced a plan to allow “low-risk” businesses to reopen.
On that same day that Brand extended the shelter-in-place order, Fresno Mayor-elect Jerry Dyer said his goal was to have “hundreds” businesses reopened by this Thursday.
“Hundreds of businesses will be allowed to reopen, and we will provide much-needed hope for people,” Dyer said in his remarks following Brand’s Tuesday announcement.
“Today is a positive step toward our future.”
Dyer said that videos are being made in multiple languages so that business owners know specifically what they can — and can’t — do.
In recent days, the city announced that pet groomers, golf courses, and medical/dental offices could reopen.
Arias: ‘Not a Time to Celebrate’
Fresno City Council President Miguel Arias said Tuesday that the city’s phased reopening must not “overwhelm” the local healthcare system.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” Arias said, citing the need for residents to continue to adhere to the state’s shelter-at-home order and follow the city’s public face-mask requirement.
“It’s not a time to celebrate” with parties and large gatherings, Arias said.
Arias said that City Hall will trust businesses to do the right thing, but code enforcement will continue to check to see that the rules are being followed.
The council president said that thus far, 16 fines totaling $20,000 have been issued for businesses violating the city’s shelter-in-place orders. Arias noted that code enforcement officers warn businesses and try to guide them on corrective actions before a citation is written.
Why Not Barbershops, Dine-in Restaurants, Too?
Brand said that the city is awaiting the go-ahead from the state before it further expands the economy’s reopening.
“As soon as the state gives us the green light to open restaurant dining rooms, gyms, hair and nail salons, and other close-contact businesses, then I will devote the resources of the city to get those very deserving and hard-working people back to work,” Brand said.
There Are Restrictions
Occupancy for authorized businesses is based on one customer per 500 square feet. Each authorized business will be required to comply with the City’s Modified Appendix A: Social Distancing Protocol to protect the health of their employees and to protect the health of the vendors and customers who visit and shop there.
Some businesses will have additional requirements that include special sanitation and cleaning protocols.
Governor Loosens up Lockdown
Brand’s announcement dovetails with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statements Monday that the state will begin gradually allowing clothing stores, florists, bookstores and sporting goods shops to open their doors after the nearly seven-week coronavirus shutdown.
The governor acknowledged change could come at different times in different places, and protecting public health remains paramount when reducing restrictions.
The state’s relaxed rules coming later this week do not apply to restaurants, which have been limited to takeout, offices, shopping malls, or schools. Unknown is whether the state could — or would — act against communities that charting a different direction.
A key element for reopening is creating a statewide tracing system to determine if a person who becomes infected has spread the virus. On Monday, Newsom announced a new training program for thousands of people who will be used as contact tracers.
California has more than 56,700 confirmed coronavirus cases and nearly 2,300 deaths.
Too Late for Brewery
Hours before Brand’s announcement, Full Circle Brewery announced the closure of its Tower District location.
“Like many small businesses, we have struggled with a significant loss of revenue during this unprecedented time,” the brewery said on Facebook. “In the age of social distancing, anticipated future crowd limitations, and no immediate guidance on re-opening of Fresno’s restaurants or breweries we have made the difficult decision to close our Tower location.”
Full Circle remains open at its downtown Fresno operation.