DELANO, Calif. — Residents and business owners in the city of Delano will now face stricter enforcement when it comes to the regional stay at home order.
The city council Tuesday night for nearly four hours as the public also voiced their opinions regarding enforcement in the form of a fine.
"On one side of the aisle, you have business owners who contribute to the vitality of this city. I mean small business owners are not only the heart of Delano but the heart of the American economy," said councilmember Joe Alindajao.
Councilmember Joe Alindajao said he was about to make the hardest decision of his career in a nearly three and a half-hour council meeting Tuesday night.
"...and on the other side, we have our own citizens. So how do I choose? Who do I sacrifice," added Alindajao.
Almost all city council members voted to pass a temporary ordinance to enforce a stricter stay-at-home order for non-essential gatherings and businesses, however, Delano Mayor Liz Morris remained the only member to oppose the ordinance, saying that business owners should be educated on safe ways to operate, rather than be fined.
"My heart really goes out to them. These people are fighting for their livelihood, and many of us can't feel their pain because many of us are receiving a regular income," added Morris.
With a majority voting to pass the ordinance, it will go into effect immediately for a total of 28 days. Under this, jobs considered non-essential such as hair salons, nail salons, and barbershops will have to shut down, but restaurants can stay open for take-out only. Those who do not comply with this will be fined $100 for the first offense, $200 for the second, and up to $500 for any after.
Under this new urgency ordinance, non-essential gatherings will be prohibited outdoors when individuals from other households gather with up to 10 people.
Big corporations will also be forced to comply with restrictions by the code enforcement team, or otherwise fined. If they do not follow a 25% capacity indoors and a 30% capacity for grocery stores.
With these new restrictions, a majority of the 25 residents tuning in for public comment disagreed with these rules, saying some business owners have no other way to feed their families.
"I am against these fines, It's almost like beating someone down when they're already down and putting in more fear where there's already fear," said Silvia, a salon owner.
With a small majority saying they agree with the ordinance as COVID numbers are skyrocketing.
"What is the cost of a life? What does a life cost? So we need to keep that in mind," said Lupe Martinez, a local resident.