FRESNO, California (KSEE) – An emergency meeting of Fresno City Council Thursday came just in time to pass an order prohibiting large New Year’s Eve parties of 50 people or more.
The order passed with a 5-2 vote, authorizing the city’s code enforcement officers to issue fines to party organizers and property owners without any warning.
“These last couple of days, the City of Fresno got word and some flyers that were circulating on social media promoting huge mass gatherings, concerts, and so we decided to take some action and just let folks know that those are not allowed,” said Councilmember Luis Chavez.
Chavez says about 15 of those flyers were for different events happening Thursday alone.
they’re focusing on those large-scale events with paid entry, but any gathering with 50 people or more will be subject to fines. The amounts are to be determined on a case-by-case basis but could go as high as $10,000.
“We’re not going to use our police department for this. This will be City of Fresno code enforcement officers, and they’ll go out there, they’ll assess the situation, take a video, some pictures, and then these individuals can get a fine up to $10,000 if it’s really egregious,” said Chavez.
The fines for businesses and mass gatherings will be $1,000 for a first offense, $5,000 for the second, and $10,000 for a third and subsequent offenses.
Not everyone agreed with the decision. Councilmember Garry Bredefeld said he was one of the two who voted against it.
“I don’t believe people should be fined just as I didn’t believe businesses should be fined as they try to stay open and survive,” said Bredefeld. “I believe in informing people, giving them facts, giving them data, and trust our citizens and people to make the best decisions for themselves and their families.”
Chavez said the emergency order will be reviewed at the Fresno City Council meeting next week.
This article has been updated to include more information on the dollar amount of fines for offenses.