Pismo's builds outdoor dining space, ending dispute with city of Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Defying state orders designed to stop the spread of coronavirus could be costly in the city of Fresno.

New construction in the Pismo's parking lot might mean an end to a dining dispute between restaurant owner David Fansler and the city of Fresno.

Fansler kept Pismo's and Westwood BBQ open the evening after Gov. Gavin Newsom ordered restaurants to stop indoor service.

His attorney said he got two citations from the state Alcoholic Beverage Control and four from city code enforcement.

"Dave's definition of outdoor dining and the city's definition of outdoor dining are different," said attorney Warren Paboojian. "He believes and we believe he's complied with the governor's order."

Fansler still insists his garage-style windows and air system make the indoor area similar to an outdoor patio even though his city permit is for indoor dining in all but 388 square feet that's actually outside.

Ultimately, the state's threat to take Fansler's liquor license led him to pitch a parking lot tent like several other similar restaurants when the order came down a couple weeks ago.

And his attorney is trying to resolve the citations he's already gotten.

"We're discussing these with the city and the (Alcoholic Beverage Control) and hopefully we can come to some resolution because putting people out of jobs, putting Dave out of business, putting other restaurants in our community out of work is not going to benefit anyone," said Paboojian.

Even in the outdoors, the city will enforce stricter rules for masking.

City council voted to edit the coronavirus emergency order and called on businesses to enforce mask orders inside a building and outside when employees can't get enough social distancing.

"The mask requirement already exists in the city and statewide so these are adjustments I think will make it more effective," said Council Member Nelson Esparza, who pushed for the new requirements.

People can call code enforcement to report violations at (559)621-8400.

And businesses will also have to inform employees now when a worker tests positive.
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