County officials warn non-compliant businesses that the Governor is ‘paying attention’

May 7, 2020 /

County officials said at a press conference Thursday the Governor’s office is “paying attention” to non-compliant businesses and has the ability to enforce a variety of actions against non-compliant businesses during the pandemic.

County Chief Administrative Officer Ryan Alsop said the State will be the one to take action, such as make arrests and cite businesses, where as the County will take an education and communication approach when it comes to non-compliant businesses.

“The State of California is calling the shots on this pandemic,” Alsop said. “So any business that is getting out in front of Governor Gavin Newsom’s orders are doing so at their own risk.”

The county is reinforcing the Governor’s order by communicating with local businesses. Alsop said when the County receives a complaint about a non-compliant business, health officials call the business to inform them it is not the time to reopen.

However, Alsop said the county is not going to arrest or cite non-compliant businesses. Instead, they are educating and communicating with businesses.

“In Kern County, we don’t want to go out and arrest folks and provide big fines locally to people who are simply trying to get their businesses open,” Alsop said. “We are communicating with businesses throughout the County, and it has worked well.”

Some question how the county will be able to hold non-compliant businesses accountable if they are not going to take action; however, Alsop said the state is watching and that should be enough.

“The state is paying attention,” he said.

Many businesses must go through the state to receive different types of licenses. The California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control has already been on contact with some local businesses already, according to Alsop.

Despite the rapid changes, county officials made it clear that the governor’s shelter-in-pace order remains in place.

“We want to make clear the Governor’s order remains and restaurants should remain closed to dine-in services,” said Matt Constantine, the director of Kern County Public Health Services.

Elizabeth Sanchez

Elizabeth Sanchez

Elizabeth Sanchez is the program associate for South Kern Sol. She can be reached at elizabeth@southkernsol.org.