Fresno to lift shelter-in-place order

Andrew Leal

Andrew Leal

Mayor Lee Brand of Fresno announced the city’s shelter-in-place order will come to an end on May 26 with requirements that residents must adhere to a social distance protocol. 

In the new guidelines residents, “will only be required to wear cloth face coverings when entering businesses and government buildings,” according to a public release statement from the city’s website

“I’ve been working day and night to get businesses open and people back to work, but in the safest and most responsible manner possible,” Brand said. 

Any actions not covered in the new order will be deferred to the state government’s authority which means not every business gets to open up but most will. 

Along with the change in order came talk of $5 million in increased testing for COVID19 and another $5 million in contract tracing. 

“We believe we can effectively manage the curve to keep our most vulnerable people and our senior citizens safe while getting our businesses open and our people back to work,” Brand said.

The city made it clear that there will be no criminal prosecution for residents with exception to, “flagrant offenders.”

A possible revert back to shelter-in-place could happen if cases spike and the healthcare system reaches capacity Brand said.

Currently, Fresno County has 1,417 cases of coronavirus with 22 deaths and 437 recoveries as of May 23, according to the Public Health Department tracker

“There is a percentage of the population out there today that simply wants businesses to open at all costs,” said Mayor-elect Jerry Dyer.

The new change in shelter-in-place status comes two weeks after the Fresno Freedom Rally when protestors gathered to voice opposition to the city’s closing of businesses that it deemed non-essential. 

The confrontation between anti-shelter-in-place protestors continued when a group of 15 of them, including Ben Bergquam the organizer for the Fresno Freedom Rally, confronted Fresno City Council President Miguel Arias on May 12. Arias was cited with three counts of assault following the altercation. 

Councilmember Mike Karbassi indicated he would put in for legislation that would terminate all fines handed out as a result of a violation of the previous existing shelter-in-place order. A couple dozen were handed out to Fresno businesses since the adoption of the shelter-in-place order on March 19.