SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Officers with Alcoholic Beverage Control are visiting local restaurants daily, making sure masks and social distancing requirements are being followed.
CBS13 followed along on inspections Friday as officers made cold calls. Within just a few hours Friday night, officers visited almost 100 businesses and found zero violations.
Their visits are usually fast and without a fuss. Months into this pandemic, most of the businesses ABC visits know the drill: outdoor dining, staff must wear masks and tables spread apart.
“If it comes down to it, we will take enforcement action on egregious violations. But we don’t want to do that right off the bat,” said Luke Blehm, an ABC supervising agent.
Mayahuel in downtown Sacramento got a thumbs up after a cold call. For Manager Francisco Medina, passing a surprise inspection keeps his doors open.
“It’s not easy for anyone in the restaurant businesses. We are just in a surviving mode right now,” Medina said.
During a visit to Bar West on J street, officers discovered employees a little too close together but overall good compliance.
“It was an opportunity for us to give them education and some paperwork,” Blehm said.
Since July, ABC has made more than 25,000 visits like this statewide but only issued about 100 citations. It’s a sign that cooperation is going well, despite constant complaints coming in from the public, police and health departments.
“We do understand this is a hardship on all our businesses and we do care about our licensees. We want them to be successful but safe while they do it,” Blehm said.
People out and about in Sacramento’s restaurant scene said they feel safe.
“I’ve seen all the restaurants that do have a patio actually do hold the policy of having outdoor dining,” said Carmen Romo.
CBS13 asked state officials if a restaurant could lose their license for not complying. They said it’s possible but not likely. If a business is cited, that usually means a fine and they do have the ability to appeal before a judge.