MODESTO (CBS13) — A Modesto restaurant chain racked up major fines after allowing indoor dining against county orders.
The Velvet Grill and Creamery is also racking up supporters.
A court hearing about the fines Tuesday was postponed after too many supporters showed up to attend. The hearing room could not accommodate them and the hearing was changed to Wednesday.
“I wish they were less bureaucratic and more leadership,” said Tom Ferrell, a loyal customer.
The Velvet Grill and Creamery has a sign in one of their restaurants asking for community support as they fight $60,000 in fines, stemming from both Modesto locations.
Customers continued to flow through the restaurant’s doors Tuesday. Many are highly unsupportive of the city’s fine.
“I think it’s ridiculous that they would impose a fine for a business that’s trying to stay alive in these times,” Ferrell said.
Ironically, on the same day this restaurant was supposed to have the court hearing about the fines, Stanislaus County moved into the red tier which now allows restaurants to have indoor dining at 25% capacity. But violations at both Velvet Grill and Creamery locations in Modesto date back months.
“I hope the Velvet Creamery can get past this and get that fine reduced,” Ferrell said.
The Velvet Grill and Creamery isn’t the only one with a posse of supporters. The owner of Café El Dorado in El Dorado County said she has people on speed dial ready to block county officials from entering her property. She’s also facing thousands of dollars in fines for allowing indoor dining over the last few months.
Stephanie Macias is a Modesto mom who has been cautious about safety but she thinks dining indoors is a personal choice.
“For me, it’s not as comfortable because I have small children, but I feel like if someone else is comfortable going in then they should go for it,” she said.
On Tuesday, CBS13 was unable to get a hold of managers or the owner of Velvet Grill and Creamery for comment about the fines.