Any business in Manteca that is open illegally under COVID-19 stay-at-home orders issued by San Joaquin County of Governor Gavin Newsom is not likely to get a visit from Manteca Police even if they receive a citizens’ complaint.
That also will go for those businesses that Sacramento has allowed to reopen today that may not be complying 100 percent with rules such as the prohibiting of customers from being able to enter stores.
Manteca’s stance based on the fact the San Joaquin County Health Department and Governor Gavin Newsom are making rules that the city lacks the manpower to enforce was among the latest COVID-19 developments Thursday ranging from a decision to reopen city parks today to news that Manteca Unified and other public school districts will be hammered by a projected state budget deficit of $54 billion. That deficit for the fiscal year starting July 1 comes on the heels of the state having a record $21 billion surplus this year.
Manteca Police hands
full dealing with more
pressing crime issues
Assistant City Manager Lisa Blackmon stressed that Manteca Police have pressing public safety issues that must be given a higher priority including domestic violence, gang activity, robberies and burglaries, unsafe driving from speeding to texting while drive as well as ongoing criminal investigations that as of Wednesday includes a fatal shooting.
Given the fact Manteca cannot legally make orders handed down by the county and state less restrictive — though they can be more restrictive — Blackmon said those complaints the city can’t handle will likely have to be handled by the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office and/or the California Highway Patrol.
Blackmon cautioned businesses that are regulated by the state such as establishments with liquor licenses not held in connection with an essential service such as Target that also sells food, hardware and personnel hygiene items could run afoul with emergency orders. The Alcohol Beverage & Control Board, as an example, has pulled the liquor licenses of several restaurants closed elsewhere in the state that reopened dining areas.
City Manager Miranda Lutzow stressed the city is trying to do everything it legally can to get businesses open but are prohibited by law from getting ahead of the county or state. As such, city staff is putting the finishing touches on a plan on how they would allow various categories of businesses to open once they are given the green light as they did with the golf course. The city intends to send that plan directly to the governor’s office sometime today to show Manteca is ready to take steps to assure a responsible reopening that takes steps needed to protect public health. She was hopeful the governor would at least look at it.
Lutzow expressed concern that the longer businesses are kept closed, the odds will grow that many will never reopen.
A spot check from a drive thru Manteca’s commercial districts Thursday tallied at least 20 businesses that appeared to be open that were not allowed legally to do so before midnight Thursday as well as others that the state still are lot allowing to reopen.
The rules for stores
allowed to open today
Today’s reopening applies to car washes and retailers such as stores selling clothing, books, florists, furniture and such as well as warehouses involved in supplying those businesses. So-called “high risk” businesses such as health clubs/gyms/fitness studios, dining inside restaurants, hair stylists/nail salons/barbers, and shopping malls will be opened at a later date when the state is comfortable with COVID-19 numbers.
That means under state orders that allow basically low-risk retail operations that Newsom had declared non-essential to reopen today in Manteca can only have curb-side service or delivery.
*Retailers should increase pickup and delivery service options and encourage physical distancing during pickup – such as loading items directly into a customer’s trunk or leaving items at the door of the store.
*Retailers should install hands-free devices, if possible, including motion sensor lights, contactless payment systems, automatic soap and paper towel dispensers, and time card systems.
*Manufacturing companies should close break rooms, use barriers, or increase the distance between tables/chairs to separate workers and discourage congregating during breaks. Where possible, create outdoor break areas with shade covers and seating that ensures physical distancing.
*Warehouses should minimize transaction time between warehouse employees and transportation personnel.
*Perform gate check-ins and paperwork digitally if feasible.
*Warehouse workers should clean delivery vehicles and equipment before and after delivery, carry additional sanitation materials during deliveries, and use clean personal protective equipment for each delivery stop.
The state developed industry guidance for retail, manufacturing and logistics industries that can be
found at https://covid19.ca.gov/roadmap/.
Each business should review the state issued guidance that is located within the roadmap relevant to their workplace, prepare a plan based on the guidance for their industry, and put it into action. When complete, businesses can post an industry specific checklist in their workplace to show customers and employees that they have reduced the risk and are open for business.
city parks today
Manteca — unlike Lathrop — is reopening city parks today with some restrictions still in place. Meanwhile San Joaquin County will reopen all of its parks on May 18 including the Mossdale Crossing boat launch and Dos Rios in Lathrop as well as Micke Grove Park in Lodi. Some restrictions will remain in place. The county previously had extended their park closures to May 31.
Manteca is reinstalling basketball rims to allow basketball play. At the same time playground equipment as well as tennis and pickle ball courts will reopen as well as the BMX, skate, and dog parks.
The city will not be sanitizing outdoor equipment including playgrounds. Using the parks is at your own risk. You need to take soap and hand sanitizer while facemasks are encouraged. People need to maintain six foot social distancing and stay with your family or household members. No organized events will be allowed at the parks. Restrooms will be cleared daily.
Specific rules for the dog park prohibit the use of benches. Dog owners must bring their own dog poop bags and hand sanitizer.
The $1,000 administrative
fine for violation of orders
in declared emergencies
Lutzow noted the council passage of the administrative law fines as an emergency measure on Tuesday that allows the imposing of $1,000 fines during locally declared emergencies could still be used during the current emergency or in the event a second surge forced another local emergency declaration.
Manteca has had a locally declared emergency now for almost two months.
She said staff had discussed what would have been ways they could have done things better as the current emergency unfolded. Having an administrative fine process in place was deemed as one way things could be handled better.
Manteca’s emergency command staff is worried about the strong potential of PG&E imposed blackouts that could last for up to five days during the upcoming — as well as future — wildfire seasons.
That would create potential for large scale problems that the police would need the ability to secure compliance with situations that could be more pressing. In a prolonged blackout over multiple days the city may need to impose a nightly curfew.
not changing plan
for time being
Manteca Unified is continuing to adhere to pandemic protocols in place and has no plans to alter how they will end the current school year later this month.
“Manteca Unified is closely monitoring the States Resiliency Plan along with San Joaquin County’s recommendations for schools opening and communities starting to relax shelter in place protocols,” noted Roger Goatcher, Deputy Superintendent. “Once state education and public health officials deem it appropriate to reopen schools the District will review options at that time. The district has been proactively evaluating school site facilities and changes will be necessary before students come back on campus to mitigate potential effects of the Coronavirus. MUSD will be sharing the mitigated measures to reassure our communities and to allow our parents to decide if they will want to send their students back to the school site. Additionally, MUSD is looking to provide distance learning opportunities for students whose families feel more comfortable with the option. We understand parents may be apprehensive because the virus is not forecasted to be totally eradicated.”
Goatcher indicated the district is watching the California state budget forecasting in light of projections of a $54 billion deficit for next fiscal year that could translate into an $18 billion cut for public schools.
The deputy superintendent said the district is starting to receive information that the state will have to make tough decisions on cutting their budget, a large portion of which is education.
“The district has been actively working on efficiencies and program modifications that may allow for budget savings,” Goatcher said. “Although the district does not foresee needing immediate cuts the district will continue to monitor and adjust programs, services, and activities to get budget savings during this challenging time.”
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