San Jose police Chief Eddie Garcia said Friday when it comes to nonessential businesses staying open during the mandated stay-at-home order, the city is practicing strict enforcement.
"We’re not gonna stay in educational (mode) for long," Garcia said. In other words, no more warnings.
At a news conference Friday at police headquarters, Garcia and San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo asked the public to call 311, not 911, if they see a business that shouldn’t be open.
Garcia said the department is deploying four patrol cars with two officers each during the day shift and a similar team of patrols for the during the swing shift. The patrols will be searching for businesses who are noncompliant with the shelter-in-place order.
As of Friday, police have contacted 56 nonessential businesses and asked them to shut down, Garcia said. Those included barber shops, smoke shops, a billiards hall, a car wash, restaurants and a video game store. Officers showed them the order, and they’ve all since complied.
But starting next week, if those nonessential businesses reopen or if businesses refuse to shut down, they could be slapped with a criminal complaint or business license violation or health code violation.
The chief sympathizes with those business owners' predicament.
"It’s sad," Garcia said. "They're telling our officers they don’t know how they're gonna pay the bills. It touches our officers. But at the same time they have a role and a job to do."
"Those are the realities," Liccardo said. "It take sthe pressure off our first responders having to interact with those folks. It distracts them from their important duties to keep people safe and healthy."
San Jose police also have had to break up gatherings of private individuals who were not social distancing, Garcia said.