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One Clovis business owner has decided that fighting with agents from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control over COVID-19 regulations is no longer worth it. House of JuJu co-owner Julie Glenn said she’s given up her restaurant’s license to serve beer and wine after being cited in early July for offering dine-in service in violation of state health orders.

During a local compliance sweep on Friday night, ABC agents were literally steps away from the House of JuJu and just walked right by.

The enforcement team visited 114 area restaurants and bars over several hours . They issued one citation.

‘Taking a Stand for Our Freedom’

“This isn’t about the money any longer,” Glenn said. “It’s about taking a stand for our freedom.”

Julie and Scott Glenn.

“This isn’t about the money any longer. It’s about taking a stand for our freedom.”Julie Glenn, House of JuJu co-owner

Glenn is still serving patrons inside and says she’s following a strict cleaning and safety regimen. She says her customers appreciate the ability to go inside her restaurant.

She knows she’s still in violation of the state’s health order against inside dining. But she said other than a phone call from the Fresno County health department, no enforcement actions have been taken.

Glenn hopes to one day offer beer and wine again after the pandemic is over. She’ll have to re-apply for the license and pay a couple of thousand dollars. She says that’s a small price to pay.

“We want to allow people the freedom of choice,” says Glenn.

Clovis Avenue Eatery Cited Friday

GV Wire℠ was embedded with the ABC team as agents checked to make sure businesses were only serving alcohol to patrons seated outside.

An eatery on Clovis Avenue called ‘The Local’ was the only one cited on Friday night for having patrons inside. Faced with an upcoming court date, one of the restaurant’s managers told GV Wire℠ he doesn’t blame the agents but says the current system doesn’t seem fair.

Manager Jesse Mendoza spoke to GV Wire℠ by phone Monday.

“We had a few officers come in. We had a few diners that were dining inside,” explains Mendoza. “Even though we had them (patrons) inside we were obeying by all guidance given to restaurants in regards to sanitation. Social distancing with our tables, the whole nine yards.”

‘The Local’ restaurant in Clovis received a misdemeanor citation for allowing patrons to dine and consume alcohol inside the restaurant. (GV Wire/Jim Jakobs)

ABC supervising agent Jason Montgomery said, “There were several people inside congregating without face coverings and consuming alcoholic beverages which is in complete contrast to the emergency health orders.”

“There were several people inside congregating without face coverings and consuming alcoholic beverages which is in complete contrast to the emergency health orders.”–ABC supervising agent Jason Montgomery

Mendoza says the restaurant was given a misdemeanor citation and a November court date.

Manager is Frustrated

Diners at the restaurant are now seated outside, Mendoza said. He said he’s frustrated because the establishment has been shut down for 16 out of the last 27 weeks and outside dining limits his capacity by 60%-70%. It’s not a financially viable option, he says. The hot Valley temperatures of late are discouraging people from eating out as much, he added.

His voice lowered a bit as he said, “We have to figure out what we need to do to survive.”

Mendoza says he has nothing bad to say about ABC agents. “They’re just doing their job.” That’s not what bothers him most.

“We provide a tremendous amount of jobs throughout California. Yet big box stores such as Walmart, Target, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Ross, they’ve able to operate at essentially normal operations with no regulatory oversight whatsoever,” said Mendoza.

Friday Night Operation

During the evening, agents stopped at establishments like BJ’s, Cheesecake Factory, Cool Hand Luke’s, Colton’s, Victory Grill, and Javier’s Mexican Restaurant.

ABC agents speak with a manager at Colton’s restaurant in Clovis. (GV Wire/Jim Jakobs)

“Our goal is to really educate our business owners and maybe provide them some feedback on things they can do to improve some of the measures they’re taking as far as following the health orders,” says Montgomery. “There is an enforcement role our department can take if we have violations that are of an egregious nature.”

“They (ABC agents) came by and just took a look around and made sure we did what we said we were going to do.”– Fleming’s Assistant General Manager Anthony Gatto

The agents are authorized to issue misdemeanor citations to the owner or the manager of the location. Agents can also file actions against the establishment’s actual alcohol license itself.

Monday evening, ABC told GV Wire℠ they’ve now visited 41,569 businesses throughout the state for compliance checks.  A total of 113 misdemeanor citations have been issued.

Keeping Playing Field Level

One of the first businesses visited by ABC was Fleming’s at Fashion Fair mall.

“Our biggest thing since this started has been safety, not only for ourselves and our staff, but our guests as well,” said Fleming’s Assistant General Manager Anthony Gatto. “They (ABC agents) came by and just took a look around and made sure we did what we said we were going to do.”

Gatto says it’s very comforting to know ABC is out making sure everyone is operating as they should be to keep the playing field level for all restaurants.

15 Responses

  1. Bill

    “Just doing their job” sorry I don’t buy this BS . They are deliberately targeting restaurants in North Fresno abd Clovis.
    Let’s see them go to the Tower, downtown and south Fresno. In Arias and Sorias districts. Seems strange they target specific areas that Arias always spews venom hatred toward.
    Arias makes lots of calls to his master Newsom.
    One restaurant had photos of local Code Enforcement Officer in our City truck waiting under a shade tree. Waiting for hours …nothing like entrapment. Too bad they are shrugging off their old duties of health code of homeless encampments. Miguels street parasites are kack on hwy 41 and under a new underpass starting a new village. But its all good Miguel has promised them millions lets see if they ever get a dime of it after his non-profis gobble it up.
    How is miguel still working collecting a public paycheck he is after all non-essential. Defund Miguel Arias

    Reply
    • Art

      Ease up and come back to reality. Newsom the problem huh? I guess Newsom is the problem in Florida, too. If you don’t like something, create a conspiracy. We would not be in this mess if people actually followed the guidelines, but some of us are selfish and that leads to more outbreaks, hot spots and even deaths. I know it’s hard as a business owner right now and that it is essential to help them financially, but ignoring common sense hurts people and the economy.

      Reply
      • Bill

        Funny you mention Florida have you ever been there? Well we visit frequently and they are no where near the restrictions and tyrannical abuses that California is, not even close. They are business friendly as is Arizona both recognizing that without businesses and local revenue tax local and state government will cease to exist. Newsoms family operated never is monitored, huge dinner at his winery everyone was without a mask, wine flowing and no social distancing. The photos and video are all over social media and independent news.
        People who have only existed off public funds like Miguel Arias ( besides a stint picking melons) will never understand the concept and responsibility of struggling independent businesses and stresses of making payroll fir employees . Until you frequently visit other states dont pretend to compare the over reach of King Gavin to Florida, Arizona, Texas, Nevada. You probably think the terrorists ripping up downtown Portland chasing out independent businesses is justified because looting is essential. King Gavins motto is ‘”do as I say not as I do”

      • Paul

        Hey Art,who’s gonna pay my bills? You? How come your buddy Newsome’s eateries (wineries) are still open? How about lead by example. It’s all bullshit!

      • Shawn

        What is wrong with this country? These safety measures do absolutely nothing! Nothing! Show me data that proves distancing and masks lower infection rates. You can’t because there is none! Don’t be a sheep. wake up and take back your country.

    • Steve

      I totally agree Bill. I don’t give his Brown Shirts a pass. Anyone with an ounce of ability to analyze data, or just look around, knows this entire thing is now a political farce being used for political purposes. Because of Federalism, the States can pretty much do what they want in this situation. We currently have a governor, who plays a doctor on 1 day, a scientist the next, and then does his best imitation of Josef Stalin the rest of the week. I wonder what his commission was for that BILLION $$$$ Chinese mask deal? There is too many weak minded people in this state (thank a teacher), who actually believe you can’t catch the Chinese virus at WalMart or Home Depot, but you are going to DIE if you eat inside a restaurant, instead of 3 feet away, on the sidewalk. To feel good about ourselves, we wear masks and help our Marxist politicians destroy our neighbor’s businesses and fortunes. (believe me, yours is going to be destroyed next) I for one, would rather die on my feet, than on my knees at the feet of an all powerful, dictatorial government.

      Reply
  2. Dan

    Lol. For those upset that restaurants can’t operate as normal and cry about Walmart et al, go complain to the federal government. The feds designate what is considered essential. Walmart is deemed essential because it sells groceries and household goods, something restaurants don’t do. Restaurants aren’t essential.

    Reply
    • Bill

      Dan you are uninformed these restrictions are by state overseeing local counties/cities. Read and research the jurisdiction given to the states. The Federal Government has openly declared the assault on churches, etc as abuse of our Bill of Rights. Not to mention how California has one of the most strictist gun laws and getting more restructure daily thereby abusing our 2nd amendment. BLM now is trespassing in private neighborhoods demanding families give the keys to their home, as well as attacking random people on the street. You justify that? King Newsom also has allowed another 18,000 out of prison spiking local crime up 300% and gun violence 70% . This is not federal its called poor judicial state management. Newsoms progressive ideology punishes American law abiding taxpayers and favors illegals and criminals. Lets send them to Newsoms or his auntie Pelosis estate…oops forgot they have armed guards while all you 2nd amendment haters are sitting ducks. Hypocrite much?

      Reply
    • Steve Jordan

      How ignorant are you? Everything you said is factually incorrect. I’m truly astounded at the willful ignorance. You REALLY expect us, or maybe just me, to believe that the Trump Administration declared marijuana shops essential? Liquor stores? Now, The Administration DID SAY that Churches are essential; do you see them open? Did the Feds declare riots essential? There is nothing wrong with ignorance, because it can be fixed with knowledge of the facts. However, ignorance becomes stupidity when one chooses to not look for, or just ignores the facts, because of emotional immaturity.

      Reply
  3. Dakishimete

    Selfish people putting money over lives. If they truly are Christian, then God sees what they are doing and he will not forget.

    Reply
  4. Joni

    I wish to support ANY and ALL businesses who are NOT falling for this BS, and taking a stand for or rights! House of JUJU, I’ll be back! You WILL continue to get my business. People, WAKE UP! Stop being mind controlled sheep!!!

    Reply

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