Some local leaders urge Gov. Newsom to let restaurants operate indoors again

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Fresno City and County leaders are reaching out to Governor Gavin Newsom, asking him to allow indoor dining to resume locally as soon as possible.

Some leaders say take-out is not sustainable for many family-run businesses and restaurants that are closing by the day.

'Dying on a vine' and 'no longer feasible' are words local leaders are hearing often from restaurant owners who can no longer remain closed without making it a permanent shutdown.

"There's a lot of people out there who are fed up. They are at the end of their rope they are at the end of 'what can I do?'. There's almost like a rebellion out there," said Fresno Mayor Lee Brand.

Fresno County Board of Supervisors Chair, Buddy Mendes, said: "When they were opened back up they should have never closed. This is just theatrics. And theatrics cost these people a living and cost all of the people that work for them their living."

The Fresno City Council, for different reasons and different beliefs, also voted to support sending the letter. Councilman Garry Bredefeld has been pushing to open restaurants immediately.

But his approach hasn't gone over well with some of his colleagues.

"My colleague's proposal asks businesses, business owners to engage in a kamikaze approach that will only further kill my Latino community. Because, the record is clear, the data is clear and the funerals are crystal clear," said Fresno City Council President Miguel Arias.

"Just because you can't dine in, doesn't mean that food is canceled. I dine out in terms of takeout, delivery," said councilmember Nelson Esparza.

On Thursday, the president of the Fresno Restaurant Association and owner of Vino Grille and Spirits said hanging in there is getting harder by the day.

"Right now all we're trying to do is stop the bleeding. We're losing money every week. Most of us, are- it just depends on how much. So we keep it open and we keep fighting because we want to be here for the long term," said Chuck Van Fleet.

Mayor Brand hopes to get a response from the governor within the next few days. He would like restaurants to be able to open up at 50% capacity which would at least allow them to break even.
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