CHICO, Calif. - The Chico City Council passed a motion Tuesday that will allow for city staff to begin to fine businesses and may lead to fine people that are not in compliance with the state's coronavirus guidelines. It was the first time people were able to speak in front of the city council in five months.
Some community members say the city is being too harsh by enforcing face coverings and punishing businesses, and for others, it didn't matter whether their topic was on the agenda.
"I'm excited to finally have a council meeting," said one Chico resident, Jeff.
"No, I don't know if it did any good, but I was here to at least say my piece," shared Chris.
Yet still, some feel the community missed out.
"It makes me feel good," said Nick J. "I wish more of our community showed up though."
The city made sure to take every precaution to keep everything safe while people waited in line.
"We will have a speaker with what's going on inside the meeting out here, so folks can social distance out there."
"We've already discussed today that our first line of defense is education," said Chico Mayor Ann Schwab. "A very vigorous attempt at compliance and understanding what the total of the situation is."
"Councilmember Stone, I, Vice Mayor Brown, I, Mayor Schwab, I. motion carries 5-2."
The city council passed a motion at Tuesday night's meeting to fine businesses that are not complying with the state guidelines.
City Manager, Mark Orme, says this will serve as a framework for future COVID-19 enforcement measures.
"If there were fines given with regard to any COVID-19 related items, this would, this would be used just so you're aware."
People here, like Nick J., were upset.
"If they really truly cared about the local businesses, then they wouldn't be bullying with the guidelines, they would be helping them in every way possible, instead of forcing them to shut down and quit and go outside."
The city started handing out violation notices to businesses that are still operating despite the state and county guidelines, since Thursday.