FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) — On Saturday, more than 100 people rallied in downtown Fresno, calling on Gov. Gavin Newsom and Fresno County to “Open California Safely.”
“I believe that we can do the best to protect the most vulnerable in our population, while simultaneously keep our businesses alive,” said Lewis Everk, owner of the Everk Hospitality Group.
Local businesses and restaurants are frustrated with the states recent orders to close indoor operations again in 41 counties due to a spike in COVID-19 cases.
“We’re being shut down a third time and our livelihoods, our families, all our employee’s families are at risk right now because of their decisions,” said Manny Perales, owner of Yosemite Falls Cafe and Sports Bar.
Perales says he wants answers from the Fresno County Public Health Department.
He says they tried talking with them on Friday but got nowhere.
“We said show us the data that small businesses are the problem, show us the data that we are the super spreaders that you’re making us out to be, we’ve been shut down or partially shut down for almost nine months and these peaks keep coming and going that have nothing to do with us, why do we keep getting shut down,” Perales said.
Many small mom and pop shops say they won’t survive this closure.
“Eighty-one percent of the city in Clovis are employed by small businesses,” said Julie Glenn, co-owner of House of JuJu, Papa’s Place and On The Edge.
Glenn says they’re just asking to allow 25 percent capacity.
“We can’t survive off of that but it’s better than nothing,” she said.
Though Glenn is not disregarding the coronavirus, she says all businesses are essential.
“We have ones that have been sick, friends in the hospital, it’s real, it’s not a walk in the park like my friend said last night but it’s not something to shut down half a million people’s lives for,” Glenn said.
She said they plan on holding a rally in Sacramento and even at the Governor’s house.