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Possible garbage payment relief for businesses being forced to close

Manteca stores forced to shut down due to the coronavirus are continuing to pay as much as $553 a month for solid waste service even though they are no longer generating garbage.

Councilman Gary Singh believes that is an unfair burden given businesses may be forced to go one to three months — and possibly longer — without being opened due to government mandates to flatten the impact of the COVID-19.

The rest of the council agreed during Tuesday’s meeting. Interim City Manager Miranda Lutzow will research the legalities and bring it back for council review at the next council meeting.

Depending upon the size of containers and the frequency of service collection, commercial solid waste customers between $132 and $553 for monthly service.

Singh said he could understand why water and sewer charges couldn’t be suspended during business closures.

The council also wanted staff to report back at the next meeting what steps would be taken if the city was forced to make sure non-essential businesses close down to meet the state orders aimed at flattening the impact of COVID-19 cases on the healthcare system which in turn is expected to reduce the number of cases and deaths.

So far when police have contacted businesses that have been deemed non-essential and are still open, merchants have complied.

Manteca officials have said when they do not get voluntary compliance they are prepared to take additional steps. The council wants those steps spelled out.

Based on demographics and aggressive social distancing moves,  the county’s top public health officer Dr. Maggie Park has shared modeling that shows one day hospitalizations will peak in San Joaquin County at 299 on May 30. That is almost 30 times higher than the current daily hospitalization rate in the county.

If that is the case,  social distancing that requires non-essential businesses to close could be in place until the end of June. That would mean some businesses could be closed as long as 3½ months if not longer by order of the government.

Without social distancing the peak was projected to hit on April 30 with 768 new COVID-19 cases requiring hospital admissions in a single day.

The projected number of daily intensive care unit admissions would peak at 90 on May 30 instead of 230 on April 30.

Social distancing also means the peak number of coronavirus patients that will be required to go on ventilators in a given day will be at 60 on May 30 instead of 154 on April 30.

Public health officials say that models show social distancing is working.

The flattening of the curve from social distancing means new cases requiring hospitalization would drop below 50 — a rate roughly 5 times higher than what has been happening daily during the past week —  by mid-July.

While the non-distancing model would have dropped new daily COVID-19 cases to single digit and possible zero by June 19 it would have done so at the price of almost 2½ times people getting severely sick requiring ICU admission and the same increase forced to use ventilators to stay alive. Ventilator patients face the risk of dying or — if they recover — the risk of impaired health for the rest of their lives.


To contact Dennis Wyatt, email