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Ripon moves to help restaurants, churches reopen
church outside
An outdoor service in Citrus Heights.

Gov. Gavin Newsom's announcement this week calling for the shutdown of indoor operations such as restaurants, places of worship and personal hair care services pushed the City of Ripon to take action on Friday.

An emergency session was held with the City Council, in approving an urgency ordinance to provide temporary variances of the Ripon Municipal Code, providing some relief to restaurants and churches by offering temporary permits for outdoor services.

The urgency ordinance will take effect immediately.

Ripon Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kelly Donohue expressed her appreciation.

"This is a multi-prong approach that will help (businesses) in a variety of ways," she said.

Restaurants and bars serving full meals could continue operations with the outdoor arrangement. Barber shops along with hair and nail salons are not as fortunate due to special licensing, Planning Director Ken Zuidervaart said.

He along with City Administrator Kevin Werner, Police Chief Ed Ormonde, and City Attorney Tom Terpstra are part of the Disaster Council that put forth the outdoor plan.

"We try to provide flexibility to each business," said Werner. "Dine-in restaurants, bars (with full meal services) and places of worship can move (their operations) outside."

In order to do so, they'll be required to file for the temporary permit, which, in turn, would be reviewed by the Disaster Council.

Councilman Mike Restuccia favored the plan because it's "flexible and proactive."

Mayor Jake Parks agreed. "This flexibility will be needed in the future since (COVID-19) might be around for a while."

Some of the places of worship have already moved forward.

Calvary Reformed Church, for one, went to social media in search of loaner pop-up tents.

The church at 741 Second St. #2300 described the recent outdoor worship service as both “awesome” and also “hot.”

Calvary Reformed Church is planning much of the same this weekend, hoping to get enough loaner tents to provide “more shade for everyone.”

Donohue credited some of the dive-in places for creativity given the circumstances.

Austin Coffee Crafters and The Vine House are adjacent businesses at 222 W. Ripon Rd.

"They did a co-op with their outdoor seating areas," she said, with the coffee place occupying the outside space during the daytime and The Vine House taking over the seating arrangements in the evening.

Both businesses have different hours of operation.

"They were creative along with some of the downtown businesses," Donohue said.