Fresno bars and restaurants navigate busiest drinking night with a curfew

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FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) — The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is typically one of the busiest nights for bars and restaurants. With outdoor dining only and a 10 p.m. curfew, many in Fresno are celebrating differently this year.

“It’s kind of a sendoff to being able to kind of afford the holidays for our staff,” said Vyxn owner Lewis Everk.

Many lined up early at Vyxn restaurant and lounge to take advantage of one last night before the restaurant and lounge shuts down due to the pandemic.

“We plan to have a good time and be as safe as possible,” said Everk.

He says they have followed all COVID-19 safety protocols and were enforcing masks and temperature checks upon entry. He argues his business is safer than a gathering at home where protocols may not be in place.

“People aren’t going to stop wanting to gather and with each other for the holidays so I think it’s unfortunate we are putting them in situations where they are going to do it anyway but it’s going to be at home,” said Everk.

“The broader contours really suggest that really any time you share air space outside your household you are taking on a risk you may not need to be,” said Fresno County Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra.

As for enforcement of the curfew, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control says they have agents monitoring businesses and making sure they are complying with the guidelines. They said they prefer education over enforcement.

Both Vyxn and The Standard appeared to allow guests to stay inside past the 10 p.m. curfew, though they closed the front entrance and guided arriving guests to a back door where they were allowed to come in. 

The City of Fresno has asked for voluntary compliance. The City Attorney’s Office Code Enforcement Unit said in a statement:

“The City Attorney’s Office – Code Enforcement Unit will continue to educate businesses on COVID-19 guidelines that fall within the Widespread (Purple) Tier. We will investigate allegations of egregious violations of the Emergency Ordinance and Orders, only on a complaint-driven basis. As always, our goal is to gain compliance without having to issue a citation. In addition, our office has been working in conjunction with the Fresno County Chamber of Commerce to provide businesses with P.P.E. so that businesses can continue to safely operate through the pandemic.”

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