Kings County Supervisors tell businesses to open at their own risk

KINGS COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) -- On Friday, Kings County Supervisors voted to "clarify that local businesses may open up at their own risk if they can operate safely following the guidelines for national chains, and they feel they can justify such actions to the state."

"If we're not seeing a big surge like they projected, then let people get back to work," Kings County Supervisor Doug Verboon said. "I mean, this virus is not going to go away anytime soon. Unless it disappears all by itself like it got here by itself. I think it's important to take care of the people and their mental health. I mean, it's really important to let people have a right to earn a living and get out."

The Hanford Mall reopened on Friday.

"Based on the action taken by the Yuba Sutter Mall in Yuba City, CA, the ownership determined that the Hanford Mall could be opened safely," said Matt Spenhoff of Manco Abbott Real Estate Management. "With a large percentage of local mom and pop retailers in the mall, the ownership felt we could reopen the Hanford Mall following recommended CDC guidelines for social distancing."

Lake Bottom Brewery & Distillery in Downtown Corcoran also reopened on Friday.

But within hours, the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, or ABC, was on site with a warning.

"Basically (they) said that we weren't allowed to, which is fine, I understand," said Lake Bottom's Fred Figueroa. "We want to stay within all the guidelines of ABC (and) as far as the health department, you know everybody. We want to do it right."

ABC officials say licensed bars and restaurants cannot open until state and local officials lift stay at home orders.

"Once state and local health officials say that businesses are permitted to serve food to customers inside, they will be permitted to serve alcohol inside according to the guidelines from the State, County, the provisions under their ABC license, and the ABC's regulatory relief," said ABC Public Information Officer John Carr.

The county still hasn't received approval to move faster through stage two of the state's reopening plan, which would allow retail stores, malls, and dine-in restaurants to reopen.

Lake Bottom has stopped in-house food and drinks for now, and will continue offering pick-up and delivery.

But for a business that just opened in September, they say they need to return to normal soon.

"We just want to get open man," Figueroa said. "We just want to proceed with what we got started here."
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