Business

This "non-essential" business was operating in Rancho Cucamonga early last week.  (Contributed photo by Mike Myers)

Most Fontana residents are taking the coronavirus threat seriously and are following social distancing guidelines.

However, many people are still not complying with Gov. Gavin Newson's order to stay at home and avoid activities which are not deemed "essential." Should these individuals face some consequences?

Mayor Acquanetta Warren issued a warning to residents and businesses to exercise “responsible behavior" in order to protect the safety and well-being of themselves, their families and the community.

“Irresponsible behavior is putting lives at risk, plain and simple. While most of our community has responded well, those who haven’t need to understand the consequences of their behavior,” Warren said in a news release. “People need to understand that the actions we take now will determine how quickly we get through this.”

Warren urged local residents to conduct business with extreme caution.

"To whatever degree possible, employees should be encouraged to work from home," she said. "At businesses deemed essential, vigilant physical distancing should be enforced, and physical proximity to customers and fellow employees should be severely restricted in accordance with government directives at the state and local levels. People should not engage in non-essential activity that doesn’t keep you at least 6 feet away from a service provider. Failure to comply may result in enforcement action by the authorities."

When asked to comment about this possible "enforcement action," Fontana Police Chief Billy Green said he has received direction from the mayor to delay any sort of action in regard to violations of the state and county orders directing social distancing and the closure of non-essential business operations.

"It is her hope that folks not currently following the orders will willingly comply based on her press release," Green said in a statement. "The Fontana Police Department will continue to record and monitor citizen complaints regarding non-compliance and will work with the community to resolve these issues once permission to do so is granted. If and when that time comes, please know enforcement action will only be taken when voluntary compliance is refused. We deeply value our relationship with the community and will always attempt education before any enforcement action is taken on this matter."

----- NEWSOM said in his order that all non-essential businesses must shut down. Dine-in restaurants, bars and nightclubs, entertainment venues, gyms and fitness studios, public events and gatherings, convention centers and hair and nail salons were some of the businesses listed in the order.

But a check of Fontana locations on March 29 revealed that some non-essential businesses in Fontana either don't understand the order or are just ignoring the order to close their doors.

At least three hair and nail salons were still operating, as well as a smoke shop and multiple car washes.

A resident wrote a letter to the Herald News saying that she was very concerned about a popular store in Fontana that was "far from a necessity. The parking lot is packed and the store is taking no precautions whatsoever! There are no restrictions and no sanitizing going on. This is very risky and it is giving people a false sense of security. This is a serious matter."

The writer said that in order to protect the citizens of Fontana, she believed that this and other "non-essential" stores should be closed and the owners should be fined if they do not comply.

Also, a resident who works for a local car dealership which has a service department wrote to the Herald News stating that the employees and customers are not practicing social distancing at the location.

"No one is taking what's happening right now seriously and I'm terrified!" the resident said. "I have a daughter who is immunocompromised and I refuse to not take what's happening with an extreme sense of urgency! I understand that we must remain open because we provide an essential service, but there are salesmen still working. We do not need to be selling cars right now. Customers are coming in with their entire families! It's beyond comprehension!"

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