FRESNO, California (KSEE) – A potential five-day shutdown of all retail businesses city-wide “without exception” was proposed by Fresno councilmember Luis Chavez Monday.
“Sadly, the worst-case scenario that we had envisioned early on in the pandemic is here now,’ he said.
Chavez drafted an emergency ordinance in response to a worsening COVID-19 crisis. He said he is worried as hospitals become full of COVID-19 patients and others are turned away. He said he wants to make sure everyone can get adequate care.
The proposal states when the number of ICU beds in the county hits zero:
“All retail businesses throughout the city, shall completely shut down and be closed, without exception, for all in person sales and services for a period of five consecutive days.”
“This only triggers when we’re out of every single bed space in out hospital and when the morgues are overflowing and drastic times call for drastic measures,” Chavez said.
Under the ordinance, stores would still be allowed to do curbside services and there would be exceptions, for places such as pharmacies and food processing facilities.
The rule would apply to all retail including big box stores, along with grocery stores — which have been previously deemed essential.
Fines for violations could reach $10,000 and the order could be extended.
“Lockdowns don’t work. What lockdowns do is they cause more destruction and destroy people’s lives, their livelihoods and their businesses,” fellow councilmember Garry Bredefeld said.
Bredefeld said he believes every business should open, as long as they follow the CDC guidelines.
“The fact is this is a virus. It’s a highly contagious virus, people are going to get it and we want to minimize it, but lockdowns cause more problems than the disease itself,” he said.
Chavez said the city attorney is still looking the proposal over, but he said he expects it to be triggered in 7 to 10 days, at which point it will need to go to the council for a vote.
In order to pass the proposal would need five votes, if it does it would go into effect right away.