The westside Fresno County cities of Coalinga and Firebaugh have taken action to start reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic.
At the city council meeting on Thursday, Coalinga decided to take a step in direct opposition to California Governor Gavin Newsom’s shelter-in-place order.
The Coalinga City Council declared all businesses in the city to be essential. The resolution passed in a 4-1 vote.
All businesses that were previously considered nonessential – including barbershops, salons, movie theaters, gyms and retail stores – can reopen without any interference from the city.
The city is requiring that businesses follow health and safety guidelines, including social distancing.
Firebaugh did not take as drastic of a step as Coalinga, but the city did decide on Thursday to lift some restrictions on what hours essential businesses are allowed to operate.
The city lifted an order that required essential business to be closed from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. Firebaugh announced this decision in a letter from Police Chief Salvador Raygoza to Firebaugh residents and business owners.
On May 11, all customers will be required to wear protective face coverings when entering a business, in addition to all employees.
Businesses are required to post signs outside the store to inform customers that they have to wear face coverings to enter.
Firebaugh parks will remain closed for public gatherings, and police will continue patrolling the parks to enforce the rule.
“In the beginning of this pandemic, our town experienced a high number of confirmed patients,” Raygoza said. “Citizens were very concerned, afraid and demanding information and instructions With most of those individuals recovered and cleared, we want to instill the importance of social distancing, the wearing of facial coverings, washing of hands more frequently and sheltering at home to avoid recurrence of that very difficult time.
“The city understands the frustration of those who are tired of being at home and wanting things to go back to normal, but we must continue to be patient. We will get through this, but we can only do so by following instructions and changing the way we do things on a daily basis.”