ABC agents dropping in on businesses to check for compliance

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FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) — The state’s coronavirus ‘strike team’ is fighting to slow the spread of the virus in the Central Valley after it was flagged as a hotspot.

Alcoholic beverage control officers are making sure restaurants are following health orders.

Agents went to 114 businesses Friday and only gave out one citation to The Local in Clovis.

They said most were following state regulations.

Teams are now out seven days a week showing up unannounced to ABC licensed businesses.

They check for three things, the business is only serving food and alcohol outdoors, employees are wearing masks and seating is spaced out.

“They’re going around making sure everyone is doing what they’re supposed to be doing. It’s comforting for us, not so much that we’re being watched, but that everyone is making sure that the entire city is doing what they’re supposed to do to keep everyone safe and hopefully get passed this pandemic,” Anthony Gatto the general manager of Fleming’s said.

Since July 1 ABC has made more than 400 visits to Fresno County businesses and has handed out only 6 citations.

“We want to see compliance. There may be someone who is slightly out of compliance and we’ll talk to them about it and hope for cooperation. If there isn’t cooperation and you see egregious violations, there could be a citation,” John Carr the public information officer said.

The fine is up to $1,000 and businesses could lose their liquor license.

But Jason Montgomery the supervising agent in charge of the Fresno ABC said that’s not what anyone wants to happen.

“We’re trying to educate. We want to educate, we want to give instruction to people but if we do have to issue citations and take actions against the license we will do that,” he said.

Montgomery also said they want to work with businesses who want to move their operation outdoors, so they can be open while still being in compliance.

He said the most common violation they’re seeing is people being allowed inside to eat or drink.

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