EL DORADO COUNTY (CBS13) — Shelter in place is bringing businesses to a breaking point.
Some are choosing to defy the governor’s stay-at-home order as bills and eviction orders pile up. But counties are taking drastically different approaches to enforcement.
Cherie Baldridge told CBS13 she’s had enough. She owns the Cafe El Dorado in the town of El Dorado and is choosing to reopen her restaurant on Friday.
“I just decided I can’t do it anymore. I can’t survive one more month,” she said.
Baldridge said she’s two months behind on rent, had two eviction notices and PG&E has shut her lights off twice for non-payment.
“So I’m just being slapped in the face, all the time. And nobody even knows I exist because I’m too small,” she said.
She and her single employee, Jack Boger, feel left behind.
“We don’t have the backing of corporate America. We didn’t get bailouts,” Boger said.
El Dorado County leaders seem to share their sentiment. They wrote a letter to Governor Newsom this week asking that local businesses be allowed to reopen with safety restrictions.
“Ninety percent of our business is repeat, regular customers. And they’re going to be happy we’re here,” Boger said.
Enforcement of the stay-at-home order in El Dorado County is education-focused. But 50 miles away, it’s a completely different story. A man who owns gyms in Sacramento, San Joaquin and Yolo Counties tried to reopen tomorrow too but was forced to stop.
“All three counties threatened him with arrest or a fine,” said Brian Chavez-Ochoa, the attorney for Fitness System Health Clubs.
Chavez-Ochoa is filing a lawsuit for this gym owner, arguing his constitutional rights were violated. He said his client has the right to equal protection during this stay-at-home order and that health restrictions have not been applied fairly.
“As long as you’re in compliance with that, social distancing, sanitization of the equipment all of the other items that are on that list, then you should be able to open,” he said.
Not everyone agrees with the decision these businesses are making. Governor Newsom put out his own plan that would keep many businesses closed for months. He said stay-at-home orders are still key to stopping the spread of coronavirus.
Many business thought this would all be over by May 1st.
“I care about everything and everyone. But I have to survive because no one is offering to pay my bills,” Baldridge said.