Businesses in Yuba, Sutter counties brace for potential consequences of reopening in face of statewide order

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YUBA CITY, Calif. (KTXL) — Businesses that are back open in Yuba and Sutter counties are bracing for potential repercussions.

State licensing agencies are visiting businesses telling them to comply with the statewide stay-at-home order or risk losing their license.

The chatter of customers returning to The Happy Viking is music to owner Chris Drown’s ears.

“We reopened Monday morning at half capacity and Monday was a great day,” Drown told FOX40. “It was so nice to have the dining room open again.”

But the feeling was short-lived when the very next day three agents with the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control showed up at his Yuba City business. They warned him to stop serving customers inside his restaurant or his liquor license would be in jeopardy. 

“If we do not comply, there will be suspension or revocation,” Drown explained. “We wouldn’t be much of a sports bar without a liquor license.”

While the county health department is allowing dine-in eateries, salons, gyms and other businesses to reopen with modifications, the health order goes against the statewide stay-at-home order.

“They are making a big mistake,” said Gov. Gavin Newsom about the counties’ decision to reopen businesses early. “They are putting their public at risk. They’re putting our progress at risk.”

So, state agencies are doing what they can to get owners to comply.

ABC confirmed it visited several businesses in the area to persuade them to follow the state’s orders, saying if they do not voluntarily comply, “the Department is pursuing administrative action against the licensed premises, an action that could result in the suspension or revocation of the license.”

Assemblyman James Gallagher, who represents Yuba and Sutter counties, said he has also heard from dozens of salon owners.

“I’m with the state Board of Barbering and Cosmetology. This call is to let you know that operating at this time is a violation of the governor’s executive order,” one phone call stated.

Assemblyman Gallagher said he’s reaching out to the governor’s office, urging them to hold off on enforcement. He believes counties should have the right to set their own rules.

“The governor has stated as of Monday that he would allow regional variation,” he said.

In the meantime, Drown said he’s still weighing whether to follow the orders and go back to takeout only. His business is hurting but he also needs his liquor license.

“We do still have the best chicken wings in California but they need beer to go with them,” Drown said.

ABC said it has not filed any actions against the businesses visited Tuesday.

In an email, a spokesperson with the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology wrote, “If businesses continue to put public health at risk, the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology may pursue disciplinary action, if circumstances warrant it.”

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