Fresno’s coronavirus crackdown continues with fines over businesses, failing to social distance

The City of Fresno’s efforts to curtail public activities and limit non-essential business during the coronavirus outbreak have ratcheted up.

More than a week after Fresno’s Code Enforcement division issued its first, and thus far lone, $10,000 citation over its anti-price gouging ordinance, the city announced it conducted additional work to curtail the operation of so-called “non-essential businesses.”

Per a GVWire report, Fresno issued 89 notices to non-essential businesses to cease operations, with three such businesses receiving $1,000 fines for failing to heed the warning.

On Thursday, Fresno City Councilman Luis Chavez previewed a draft ordinance to coerce Fresnans to actively maintain social distancing, per Centers for Disease Control guidance.

The proposed ordinance would ban Fresnans from hosting “nonessential gatherings” such as parties or other social gatherings.

The ordinance would come with penalties beginning with a $250 administrative citation but can stretch as high as a misdemeanor charge with either a $500 fine or a six-month jail sentence.

Chavez, speaking to McClatchy, said “it’s time for Fresno to get a little bit more serious because there’s people who aren’t really respecting the social distancing guidelines.”

The proposal appears to have the support of Fresno’s City Council majority and could be introduced at a special City Council meeting early next week.

Alex Tavlian is the Executive Editor of The San Joaquin Valley Sun and Executive Director of Valley Future Foundation. You can reach Alex at