City of Fresno declares state of emergency to fight the coronavirus

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Bars and restaurants across Fresno have seen better days.

Tables at Five Restaurant that are usually filled are now empty and could remain that way as city officials call for bar closures and restaurant restrictions amid COVID-19 concerns.

"It has gotten pretty scary," says FIve Restaurant Owner Pat Larocca. "This is our livelihood."

Mayor Lee Brand declared a state of emergency on Monday while prohibiting events or meetings of 50 or more people.

He's also mandating bars close and restaurants reduce their occupancy to keep the virus from spreading.

"If they take 100 people, they can take 50 people," Brand said. "Also, have social distancing between six-feet tables."

Some business owners are already taken action.

"We've already taken tables away," says Sequoia Brewery Owner Scott Kendall. "We usually seat 300. We'll be down to 150. We'll take what we can get."

Others, like Larocca, are not only removing tables but bringing in new ways to stay afloat.

"We've never done curbside takeout, deliver, complimentary delivery service within a two-mile radius," Larocca said. "We're trying to think outside the box."

City officials say businesses with conditional use permits that classify as a bar or lounge will need to close, but those with a restaurant permit could stay open with the restrictions.

Fresno Police Chief Andy Hall says they'll be increasing their patrols to make sure businesses are doing their part.

"We will be working with code enforcement officers to seek voluntary compliance, but if they refuse, there will be a citation or arrest," Hall said.

Larocca says he's worried about what's to come. His restaurant was closed for more than a year after a fire and reopened in October.

He says if he were forced to close his doors again, it would be devastating.

"I'm praying every day and night that won't be the case," Larocca said. "I went 13 months without work, no restaurant open and it wasn't fun. I hope to God that won't happen again."

EDITOR'S NOTE: The video above is from a previous newscast.
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