FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) — Valley business owners say enough is enough, demanding Fresno County reopen.
On Monday, hundreds gathered outside of Fresno City Hall saying the pandemic is killing their livelihood. Many attending the “Open Fresno Safely” rally wanting change.
Business owners there say they plan to open up no matter what the state restrictions say, on Oct. 1.
“Fourteen days has turned into a six-month nightmare and still counting,” said Fresno City Councilmember, Garry Bredefeld.
Local business owners fed up with state and local government. “We can’t live in fear, living in fear is way worse than any virus,” said Ernesto Zepeda, co-owner of Automotive Pros.
Many at the rally held signs demanding a reopening. “The last six months have been a nightmare, if we did not have the PPP I could tell you all small businesses would be closed, that is the only thing that has saved anyone until this point, there are so many more that are ready just to close down,” said Julie Glenn. Glenn, co-owner of three businesses in Old Town Clovis, House of JuJu, On The Edge, and Papa’s Place.
They were slapped with a fine for allowing people to dine inside. Glenn says they chose to give up their beer and wine license in order to do so.”There is no data to prove that inside dining is not safe, even Fresno County, State of California, even the COVID hotline were not able to give us any information so we made our choice to allow our customers to make their choice,” she said.
Erica Kious, former owner of E Salon San Francisco in attendance, standing in solidarity after sharing the now viral video of House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, getting her hair done at Kious’s salon.”I just hope with what I did would help push to open businesses back up safely, so I hope that actually happens, that’s my goal,” Kious said.
Many businesses cannot operate indoors or at full capacity because of the Coronavirus.”Policies are a disaster, COVID is real but people can be safe and operate their businesses the fact that restaurants cannot be open and they have no data to support it, it’s total crap,” Bredefeld said.
But other city leaders say COVID-19 cases are still high and people in the county are still not taking the pandemic seriously enough.
“Today’s rally is another example that the same individuals that say trust us will follow CDC guidelines, are clearly violating the CDC guidelines by not wearing a mask and being in the hundreds of folks right in front of City Hall,” said Miguel Arias, Fresno City Council President.