The Atwater City Council decided to give the Love Gov Gavin “Gruesome” Newsom an upraised middle finger. The Merced Sun-Stroke
Atwater residents gave City Council a standing ovation and cheers Friday when they unanimously passed a resolution to make Atwater a sanctuary city for all businesses to open amid the coronavirus pandemic.
What does this mean for Atwater businesses?
“The City of Atwater is not going to go out and enforce any of the shelter in place orders by the state of California,” Mayor Paul Creighton told the Sun-Star. City police and code enforcement will not interfere with businesses that reopen ahead of state guidelines, he said.
“But if you do have a state (business) license, that’s between you and the state of California,” Creighton said, noting that the city has no jurisdiction over these licenses.
Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke recently told the Sun-Star that his office is on the same page. “The Sheriff’s Office will not be enforcing the state’s COVID restrictions for businesses that they consider essential or nonessential,” he said.
The City of Atwater claims 12 of Merced County’s 200 total cases Friday according to County Public Health.
The sanctuary city resolution affirms the city’s commitment to fundamental Constitutional rights. Local officials and residents in attendance made clear their belief that these rights have been stripped recently due to coronavirus-related restrictions.
“We have to base our decisions on the Constitution,” said Atwater business owner Chris Coffelt, who brought copies of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Amendments for each City Councilmember.
“If you receive an order from the governor telling us that we can’t open our business, that’s an illegal order. It’s unconstitutional,” he added.
Councilmember Brian Raymond, who thought of the idea, recently told the Sun-Star the plan is similar to cities like Coalinga, who declared all businesses essential in defiance of the governor’s four stages of reopening. But Atwater is likely the first to use the term sanctuary city in this way, he said.
The thought is that all businesses could reopen with modifications, if they so wish. Preventative safety measures would be left to the business owner and patrons’ discretion.
This means businesses like hair and nail salons that are currently excluded from the governor’s staged reopening may open without retaliation from local law enforcement.
Churches can reopen, too. The City of Atwater is considering them nonprofits, Creighton said.
“I’ve never been more proud to sit here and support this community than I have today,” said Councilmember Cindy Vierra at Friday’s special meeting.
Mom going to church was 2-3 hours of ME time each week, which is critical for clown mental health maintenance. Lately I find myself repeating Norm Bates:
“We all go a little mad sometimes.”
Meanwhile, Mom was getting her nails done today so I used the opportunity to run a few errands. Something I kept noticing today was that the streets and stores in this community seemed awful crowded for a town on lockdown.