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Council Tackles Business Compliance, Accommodations

Oakdale City Council took steps to help mitigate the impact of a statewide shutdown affecting local business by unanimously approving an urgency ordinance permitting outdoor operation for qualifying businesses.

Monday night’s action, Aug. 3, formalizes a process that’s already been informally put into play by creating a standardized application process allowing certain businesses to operate on city sidewalks or in parking lots.

City Manager, Bryan Whitemyer explained, “It’s a tool to help businesses that have been ordered to shut down operations and provides more flexibility … we know there are many businesses that are just trying to hang on.”

According to city documents, the Public Services Department may approve an application and issue a temporary outdoor operations permit only if the business will comply with state and county reopening guidelines, and the public health and safety will not be threatened.

The Public Services Director is authorized to implement traffic control measures on neighborhood streets and arterial roadways to include enforcement of advisory speeds, road closures, and to reduce traffic to ensure safety for residents practicing social and physical distancing.

Whitemyer added that the permit is designed to sunset at the termination of the executive order issued by the state.

There is no fee to apply for the urgency ordinance.

Council members were pleased with the swift action by city staff to try and provide a lifeline to struggling local businesses.

Mayor J.R. McCarty praised Whitemyer’s team saying, “A lot of those business owners live paycheck to paycheck and have a mortgage to pay. We, as a city, want to make sure they can continue to survive.”

Council member Cherilyn Bairos agreed. “Whatever we can do to help local businesses is what we need to do.”

According to Assistant City Manager Patrick Mondragon, most businesses have been working diligently to remain compliant within a fluid situation that presents multiple challenges.

As of July 13, the California Department of Public Health ordered the closure of indoor operations for the following sectors:

·         Restaurants

·         Wineries and tasting rooms

·         Family entertainment centers

·         Movie theaters

·         Zoos and museums

·         Cardrooms

·         Fitness centers

·         Worship services

·         Offices for non-critical sectors

·         Hair Salons and barbershops

·         Malls

These sectors may modify operations to provide services outside or by pick-up.

Additionally, all brewpubs, breweries, bars, and pubs must close both indoor and outdoor services. Personal services such as nail salons, tattoo parlors, massage therapy, body waxing, indoor playgrounds such as bounce centers, ball pits, and laser tag, live theater, saunas and steam rooms, nightclubs, concert venues, festivals, theme parks, and higher education remain closed.

Of the 1,000 businesses registered within the City of Oakdale, there have only been 25 complaints of non-compliant businesses since the new guidelines were issued.

Currently, the city is working with four businesses that continue to struggle with compliance.

Mondragon’s code enforcement team investigates every claim that comes through their office, no matter the source, using education as their foremost tool and follow-up, surprise visits to ensure compliance.

However, continued non-compliance will result in an accumulative administrative fine until compliance is achieved.

“Our goal is to educate and work with them to get businesses into compliance,” Mondragon said.

Code Enforcement also maintains a file of every case to track compliance so repeat offenders don’t slip through the cracks.

To report a code enforcement violation, call 209-845-3637 or citizens can contact Stanislaus County Health Services Agency at 209-558-7000 and follow the prompts for the novel virus COVID-19.