City officials in Newman and Gustine are contacting owners of non-essential businesses which remain open despite Governor Newsom’s executive order, advising them to comply with the restrictions and close their doors.

Among those businesses deemed non-essential are dine-in restaurants (takeout and delivery are allowed), bars, hair and nail salons and gyms.

Newman City Manager Michael Holland told Mattos Newspapers Monday that staff members have been making phone calls to non-compliant business owners.

“We have made a half dozen phone calls, and some of those businesses were already closed,” Holland said. “We have already done some followup today and will continue to monitor the situation. For the most part we have received compliance and gotten a good response, but there remain some that have not implemented the governor’s orders.”

A followup letter is the next step for businesses which do not comply. Ultimately, Holland said, the city could implement an enforcement action under which violators would be subject revocation of their business license and fines.

Holland said city officials are contacting non-compliant businesses which they spot, and responding to complaints from the public.

The city, he reflected, fully understands the hardship and economic ramifications of asking a business owner to shut down - but said public health is the overriding consideration.

He said that effort is just one component of the city’s overall efforts to prepare for - and minimize - the impact of COVID-19 in Newman.

“We will continue to focus on public education and remind people to remain diligent in this time,” Holland stated. “We are taking the position that it is going to come to Newman. We do not think we are going to be spared. We want to be ready to manage this in the most effective way possible to minimize the impact on our residents and businesses.”

City of Gustine

Non-compliant business owners in Gustine will also be hearing from City Hall, said City Manager Doug Dunford.

“We are going to be starting (contacting business owners) this week,” said Dunford. “We’re going to do some outreach to non-essential businesses and asking them to close down. We are hoping to get compliance through them seeing the need to be closed.”

Dunford said he believes that most non-essential businesses in Gustine have already closed down.

“I think it is just one or two who have not,” he commented.