Sacramento, CA

How Do You Like Your Holiday Shutdowns: With A Free Side of Hefty Fines?

audrey wells

It’s a cruel, cruel winter, in sunny California.

Photo by Andrew Winkler found on Unsplash

As of Thursday, ICU capacity for the greater Sacramento region was 22.2% according to state data.

It’s all a matter of horrifying numbers going ‘forward’, as a city, a state, and a country’s collective grief grow exponentially from the toll COVID takes on us all.

Suffering, loss, grief, rinse, and repeat becomes common and abnormal as everyday Americans are sucked into the vortex of a very real Global Pandemic aka COVID—a black hole of emotional pain.

And while in grief there are shades of grey—slow deaths by a thousand cuts—economically or emotionally is its own hell but might not compare. 

2020 to date will be remembered as harsh and punitive for some who knew how much worse it could get and for so many who never saw it coming.

COVID deaths are not on the same spectrum and death is devastating. 


Fines, fines, Everywhere FINES

In light of where we are, however, The Sacramento County Board of Supervisors is considering an ordinance “to add more teeth when enforcing local Covid-19 restrictions on businesses”, reported Felicia Alveras on Friday, for The Sacramento Business Journal.

Does the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors need ‘teeth’ when small businesses are already wounded—some fatally—in light of where we are now?

And if more teeth are on the December 8th agenda—how do businesses avoid the financial bite these fines will take out of the ‘profit’ they’ve foregone for most if not all of 2020?

Rules are Rules. Unless you’re an Airport?

To date, the ‘Who’s, Who’ as in ‘who’ gets to stay open and operational curiously even within the same industry and in this case, the restaurant industry, appeared to be up for grabs during the Thanksgiving-travel [don’t travel] weekend.

Local restaurateur, Randy Paragary, noted as California went ‘purple-tier’—San Francisco International’s restaurants were not only open but bustling with eaters and travelers—obviously by en route and by way of aircraft with little or no social-distancing —ostensibly to varied and far-flung destinations.

While Paragary was not advocating closure;

Isn’t the government their landlord?’ seemed a fair question to air when the rules appear to be grossly consistent.

County Voting to Crackdown on COVID ‘Violators’ December 8

However, in spite of the substantial and sustained structural and operational upgrades made throughout the food and beverage industry, Sacramento’s County Board of Supervisors are ready, able, and willing to vote this coming Tuesday, December 8, on whether to allow civic fines from $250 to $10,000 on businesses ‘violating’ coronavirus-related public health orders”, as reported in The Sacramento Business Journal.

Fines at work. Fines at home. Not fine.

Do Sacramento restaurants, specifically and small businesses, in general, need the county to add a sour soupçon of discord to their lives? 

Many of these same local business owners live locally in Sacramento and Valley enclaves: people, neighborhoods, districts, and communities punched in the guts repeatedly now look forward to this.

In addition, the ordinance also allows the issuance of civic fines to non-commercial entities of $25 to $500, the article continues.

How’s all that “Merry Christmas Friends and Neighbors #StrongerTogether” going to go now, Sacramento?

The Size of Your Fine? Facts or Fish Stories

Details from officials allowing for businesses or residents to assess or calculate a ‘fine-risk-damage assessment’ remain vague.


The county is also allowing for a “grace period” of 24 to 72 hours that would allow businesses to come into compliance and avoid paying fines.


Who’s There?

Good question.

Business owners or residents may have fines delivered by Code Enforcement Officers, Law Enforcement, County Health Officers, the Director of Emergency Services, or the Environmental Health Director.

However, the urgency behind this proposal and the subsequent vote was clarified by a county staff report on the ordinance.

The purpose of this urgency ordinance is to address the small but increasing number of businesses and activities that are being conducted partly or entirely in a manner that disregards public health orders.

Bad timing sticks out like a mile…

Good timing is invisible.

Still marinating in regret and remorse for defying his own orders by attending the 50th birthday of a friend and colleague, Governor Newsom announced a new stay-at-home-order this past Thursday.

His and other elected officials’ hypocrisy is deafening.

And on December 8th, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisor votes will show their constituents exactly who’s listening.

This is a developing story.

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East coast roots—West coast spirit. "Tell the truth and shame the devil." ~ Françoise Rabelais Writer, artist, proprietress and antique peddler with reverence for the past and aspirations for the future.

Sacramento, CA

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