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Agents from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control have been quietly making the rounds after California’s limited overnight curfew went into effect Saturday night.

“ABC Agents have been out each day,” the agency’s public information officer, John Carr, said via email.

The curfew, announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom through the California Department of Public Health, prohibits “all gatherings with members of other households and all activities conducted outside the residence, lodging, or temporary accommodation with members of other households,” between the hours of 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. for counties in the state’s most restrictive “purple” tier.

That includes most of the state’s 58 counties, including Fresno. The curfew extends through Dec. 21.

“They did make visits in Fresno, Tulare, Madera and surrounding counties.”– ABC public information officer John Carr

Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp and Sheriff Margaret Mims have already said they will not enforce the order. City of Fresno officials said they would rather have voluntary compliance and will not use police resources on enforcement. Clovis police say they are unlikely to enforce the tenants of the order, either.

So far, no citations related to the new limited stay at home order have been written. Carr says the ABC prefers education over enforcement when making site visits to thousands of state-licensed businesses.

2,200 Weekend Site Visits in 17 Counties

ABC agents made over 2,200 site visits in 17 different counties when combining their efforts of both Saturday and Sunday, Carr said. There were no citations issued.

“They did make visits in Fresno, Tulare, Madera and surrounding counties,” says Carr. “Agents will continue to visit ABC licensed businesses and will be checking on compliance with health orders including the limited stay at home order in those counties where it is applicable.”

ABC: ‘Most Businesses Have Complied’

Since July 1, when ABC started its work with the California Office of Emergency Services COVID – 19 task force, agents have made over 97,000 site visits to businesses and only issued 146 citations for health order violations.

If ABC receives a complaint then agents will follow up, said Carr.  Agents try to resolve concerns with an in person visit and conversation, he said.

“Most businesses have complied when we have made visits,” says Carr.

Agents conducted a compliance sweep on August 17 in Fresno and Clovis. The enforcement team visited 114 area restaurants and bars over several hours . They issued one citation.

ABC agents during restaurant compliance operation in Fresno, Clovis on August 17, 2020 (GV Wire/Jim Jakobs)

Notices of Regulatory Relief

ABC has adopted several Notices of Regulatory Relief in order to assist businesses and help them navigate the pandemic.

The department has approved over 9,000 temporary catering authorizations that allow businesses to expand their service onto sidewalks, parking lots, and other outdoor spaces in order to comply with indoor service limits.

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