Fresno Mayor Updates Shelter-in-Place Order, Gov. Newsom Approves Fresno County’s Variance Request


UPDATE: Fresno County’s request for a variance was approved late Thursday by the State of California.  

Approval will allow for reopening of dine-in restaurants with safety precautions in place

FRESNO, CA., Thursday, May 21, 2020 – The State of California has approved Fresno County’s request to advance further into Stage 2 of reopening in accordance with the State’s Resilience Roadmap. Approval of the variance to the State’s Stay-at-Home order, paves the way for the safe reopening of dine-in restaurants in Fresno County, which have been closed since the protective order was implemented in March.

“Finally, the state has made the decision to accept our plan, allowing Fresno County to advance in our recovery process and get businesses up and running again,” says Buddy Mendes, Chairman of the Fresno County Board of Supervisors. “Our Department of Public Health and local healthcare systems have worked tirelessly to keep Fresno County safe, and our residents, in the face of such challenging circumstances have put us in a position to safely take these next steps in our recovery.”

Businesses being permitted to operate in Stage 2 include:

Early stage (with safety measures in place)

  • Curbside retail
  • Manufacturers
  • Logistics
  • Childcare
  • Office-based businesses (telework remains strongly encouraged)
  • Select services such as car washes, pet grooming, landscape gardening
  • Outdoor museums, open gallery spaces, other public spaces with modifications

Advanced stage

  • Dine-in restaurants

”We are proud of the work Fresno County has done to get us to this point in our recovery, but we still have work to do,” says Dr. Rais Vorha, Fresno County Interim Health Officer. “This is an important milestone to help get businesses open safely and help get our economy back on track. However, it’s important to note that this is not a return to normal. We must remain vigilant in our efforts to minimize risks and prevent further spread so that we can continue to move forward.”

The State’s variance is effective immediately and will only apply to dine-in restaurants at this time. The Department of Public Health continues to work with local restaurants to provide guidance to ensure appropriate safety measures are in place before opening their doors.

The Department of Public Health has issued Interim Guidance for Reopening, which business owners and employees may access online as a resource to help in their efforts to prepare their businesses for reopening.

Additionally, the Department of Public Health has issued an updated Health Officer Order that provides current guidance for businesses seeking to re-open, employer and resident precautions, criteria for returning to work, masking guidance and more.

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FRESNO, CA (KMJ) – Fresno Mayor Lee Brand says the city of Fresno’s stay at home order is being lifted.

At 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, May 26th, the order goes into effect – moving onto Phase 2.5 which allow businesses to open with modifications.

Mayor Brand says while the City of Fresno will no longer have a shelter in place order – Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay in place order covers all actions not covered by the city order.

The purpose of City of Fresno’s order is to promote public health and economic recovery of Fresno to get people back to work by safely and responsibly phasing in the opening of all businesses in the shortest possible time frame.

“All businesses in the City of Fresno that are not specifically prohibited to open by the State of California will be allowed to open their doors,” said Mayor Brand. “Restaurant dining rooms may reopen once they receive approval from the Fresno County Department of Public Health and the State of California, which we hope will be any day now.”

Fresno City Council also approved an order allowing outdoor dining in common areas of shopping centers and parking lots to help businesses provide enough space for six-foot social distancing requirements, while eliminating the guideline of one customer per 500 square feet in a business.

Mayor Brand telling KMJ’s Ray Appleton on Thursday’s show that he and Fresno County are waiting to hear from the Governor’s office* on the state’s approval of a requested variance that would allow Fresno County to move further into Phase 2.5 and reopen businesses, such as gyms, nail and hair salons.

“I would expect shortly that we are going to open up barbershops and salons,” said Brand. “The state is moving fast in that direction.”

Mayor-elect Jerry Dyer stood next to Mayor Brand and outlined some of the details, that the city’s code enforcement team will no longer be writing tickets to businesses for COVID-19 offenses, unless there is an immediate danger or flagrant violations by a business.

Dyer said Fresno residents do not need to wear masks in public, but are encouraged to do so, and will still be required if someone visits a government building or business.

*Variance approved Thursday May 22, 2020.

Click to listen to the reports by KMJ’s Liz Kern:



Mayor Announces Major Changes to Emergency Orders,
Opens More Businesses

FRESNO, CA – Fresno Mayor Lee Brand today announced that Emergency Order 2020-16 has been modified extensively to rename business categories and announce a new phase of businesses to re-open in a safe and responsible manner.  The new emergency order, 2020-17 signed by City Manager Wilma Quan this afternoon, becomes effective at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 and supersedes the previous Order.  It officially ends the City’s shelter-in-place order and reverts automatically to the State of California’s current stay-at-home orders, which have no set end date.

In addition, Emergency Order 2020-17 eliminates the categories of “Essential Businesses” and “Non-Essential Businesses,” and establishes all Fresno businesses as either “Authorized” or “Non-Authorized” to describe their status for public operations and access.  The second phase of the re-opening of Authorized Businesses begins May 26 and all businesses that are not specifically prohibited by the State may open their doors if they follow the state guidelines and the City of Fresno’s Appendix A: Social Distancing Protocol.

Restaurant dining rooms may open once the State of California approves Fresno County’s variance, which we have heard is happening today, and Fresno County publicizes the date on which they may open.

“I’ve heard you.  I’ve been working day and night to get businesses open and people back to work, but in the safest and most responsible manner possible.  I believe that our new Order allows the vast majority of businesses in the City of Fresno to open safely and responsibly,” said Mayor Brand.  “Our next job is to now figure out how to get the rest of our businesses open and people back to work and we’re starting that work today.”

All Authorized Businesses will be required to comply with the City’s new social distancing protocol to protect the health of their employees and the health of the vendors and customers who visit and shop there.  The Order also eliminates the guideline of allowing only one customer per 500 square feet and requires each business to determine safe occupancy that provides sufficient space to allow for social distancing, according to the updated Appendix A.

Residents will only be required to wear cloth face coverings when entering businesses and government buildings, with the exception of children under the age of two (2) and individuals with disabilities and respiratory illnesses.  The City strongly recommends that residents wear cloth face coverings outside in public spaces where you can’t social distance.

The City of Fresno will continue to monitor public health indicators in the community and adjust the Authorized Business program as necessary.  If public health indicators substantially worsen, the City will take appropriate action.  If public health indicators stay flat or improve, the City could accelerate this program.

Emergency Order 2020-17 will be available on the City’s website at

For the latest information on all City-issued emergency orders and other coronavirus-related decisions, call 3-1-1 or visit the City of Fresno website at

We encourage you to visit to learn more about COVID-19 nationally, for information on coronavirus in California and to follow the Fresno County Department of Public Health website for regular updates.

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