FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- As Fresno hospitals struggle with patient surges and ICU bed capacity drops dangerously low, Fresno City Councilman Luis Chavez is proposing a five-day closure of all retail businesses within city limits.
"It is only intended to be a couple of days to really provide that relief for our hospitals and hopefully break that wave," he said.
RELATED: Fresno retail stores could be shut down under new 5-day emergency order being drafted
At the moment Chavez is working with members in the business community to draft a final version.
If passed, it would go into effect once ICU capacity reaches zero.
Chavez says that could happen as soon as next week.
"The only reason we have 18 ICU beds right now is because we had a large number of fatalities recently that freed up that bed space," he said.
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Chavez said data out of Los Angeles County influenced the proposal.
He said health officials there have identified grocery stores as coronavirus hot spots.
"We know that those closed quarters with gatherings of folks really provides a medium for the virus to transmit and infect others," he said.
The order would include big-box stores such as Target and Walmart, but would allow curbside pickup and delivery to continue.
Businesses that don't comply could be cited.
Fines start at $1,000 and could go all the way up to $10,000.
"We are asking big box stores to do what restaurants are doing, curbside pickup, delivery and I think that sends a message that we are all in it together," he said.
With a potential closure to small businesses again, the Small Business Administration is reminding owners there is still help available through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.
"It offers small business access to capital now, a 12-month deferment which is a period of time where they can reopen start to recover and re-stabilize," said Dawn Golik Small Business Administration Director.
In Clovis, City officials say they'll continue following the state and County's guidance.
In a statement, the Economic Development Director said, "The end goal is to help businesses manage these challenging circumstances."
Target, Walmart in Fresno to be shut down under proposed emergency order
Curbside pickup and delivery will be allowed to continue.
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