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Businesses in Yuba, Sutter counties warned by state after reopening, defying stay-home orders

State officials said while they are focusing on education and want businesses to voluntarily comply, they do have the ability to take further enforcement action.

YUBA COUNTY, Calif — Businesses in Sutter and Yuba counties that reopened this week despite state restrictions have received warnings from state officials to do takeout or close down amid the pandemic.

The California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) confirmed that the agency contacted businesses in those counties Tuesday with warnings.

"Agents asked those ABC licensed locations to close to in house dining voluntarily, until it is safe to re-open, in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19," ABC spokesperson John Carr said in an email.

ABC could not say exactly how many businesses were contacted.

The department says while they are focusing on education and want businesses to voluntarily comply, they do have the ability to take further enforcement action.

RELATED: Hair salons, gyms and shopping malls prepare to reopen in Sutter and Yuba counties

The Alcohol Beverage Control department oversees the issuing and statuses of state liquor licenses. Some area businesses reported concern that they could lose their liquor licenses if they defy state rules.

This comes after Sutter and Yuba counties jointly relaxed restrictions on May 4 in defiance of Governor Gavin Newsom's stay-at-home order that went into effect on March 19.

The two counties are allowing most businesses to reopen and for day-to-day operations to continue with restrictions. Restaurant dining areas, salons, spas, tattoo parlors, retailers, shopping malls, gyms, non-contact school sports, playgrounds, and libraries are being allowed to operate with restrictions.

The Yuba Sutter Mall on Wednesday even became the first mall in the state to reopen its doors.

The counties' restrictions vary based on the activity, but generally include physical distancing of six feet, time limited contact, and wearing protective equipment like masks and gloves.

"All Lower Risk Businesses allowed to open with appropriate modifications shall abide strictly by the following guidance to ensure that infection prevention and control measures are in place to limit the exposure of COVID-19 for their staff and clients," the joint order from Yuba and Sutter counties says. "Any businesses considered lower risk that will be allowed to open with modifications must prepare and post a COVID-19 Operations Protocol."

Yuba County officials provided a warning to all businesses to proceed with caution when opening because the state still has restrictions in place.

“We remain focused on what matters here, which is keeping our community healthy and safe and providing them with the information and the tools they need in order to, you know, make good decisions," said Rachel Rosenbaum, a spokesperson for Yuba County.

Officials from Yuba and Sutter counties are standing by the decision made by their local health officer despite the state enforcement action.

Rosenbaum says the counties are closely monitoring the situation and could make changes to their orders at any time.

Follow the conversation on Facebook with Giacomo Luca.

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