Danville town leaders are putting out a plea as the number of COVID-19 cases spikes in the community. They say it is more important than ever to follow the stay-at-home guidelines.
The plea comes as a growing number of businesses are now publicly defying the Contra Costa County health order.
"If they want to grab their food and go outside, I'm not going to tell them where to eat their food," said Matt Delima of Kick N Mule Kitchen and Bar.
Delima said he got hit with a $250 citation on Thursday morning for allowing people to eat outside. He plans to appeal because he thinks the sidewalk area where his tables are set up is a public space. He will continue allowing customers to eat there.
"I'm going to do what I've got to do to pay my rent because I am legally obligated by contract for the next seven years on my lease," he said.
Across the street from Delima's restaurant is Revel Kitchen and Bar, which is taking a different approach. Though business is slow, they are sticking with takeout only and closely following the health order.
"We try to do what's safest for all our guests and what the guidelines give," said Amanda Swasey of Revel Kitchen and Bar. "We try to abide as best we can by them."
Danville Town Manager Joe Calabrigo is imploring people to follow the rules. He said he understands businesses are on the edge of financial ruin, but said COVID cases are surging.
Police Chief Allan Shields was out on Thursday trying to educate people to follow the rules and encourage diners to order out. He said issuing citations is not something he wants to do.
"These are people I see every day. These are businesses I shop at every day," Shields said. "I understand the pain caused, but I also understand the goal of keeping the infection rate down and keeping people out of the hospital."
Some businesses have chosen to temporarily close, like Norm's Place which has gone into hibernation. But Kick N Mule said they will keep kicking despite the fines.
"I don't think there's any relation to outside dining that's going to contribute more to COVID cases than would 400 to 500 people in Walmart," Delima said.