Businesses cited for opening during Fresno’s shelter order should have fines forgiven, says councilmember

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FRESNO, California (KGPE) – Some Fresno businesses that tried to reopen during the city’s ‘shelter at home’ order paid the price for doing so in citations issued by the city, but one city councilmember is pushing for some of those fines to be forgiven.

Councilmember Mike Karbassi says one way for the city to show its support for restaurants is to forgive some of the citations that have already handed out during the COVID-19 pandemic.​

“For the restaurants that received citations for being open, there was a little bit of confusion on the governor’s order and what we’re doing as a city,” said Karbassi. “I don’t want people getting fined for doing what they have to do to provide for their families and their employees.”​

Karbassi is proposing that fines be forgiven for businesses that  didn’t have flagrant violations.​

“I’m working right now to build consensus among my colleagues to get this done, and at the next available opportunity where we can have an emergency meeting, that’s what we’re going to do,” said Karbassi.

Karbassi says one business with a good chance at being forgiven is a Jacks’ Car Wash in northeast Fresno that was handed a $1,000 citation.​

“They received what they thought was instruction from the city, but it was more of an opinion, and so they ended up opening up, and as soon as they found out, they closed, they got that violation, and I believe even our code enforcement wants to forgive that,” said Karbassi.

The owner of The Waffle Shopin Fresno, a restaurant that received hefty fines for allowing dine-in service earlier this month, says he already has an attorney and is ready to start the appeal process if their fines aren’t waived.​

“If it’s forgiven, good, great, that’s amazing. If not, and we endure some fines, we’ll deal with them once we get to that bridge,” said Waffle Shop owner Ammar Ibrahim.

Karbassi says he knows this is a bold idea, but he is optimistic that he will be able to get a majority vote in favor of the proposal.

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