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California's Alcohol Beverage Control checks Sacramento restaurants on busy Friday night

“We care about our licensees and we want them to be successful, but we also want them to be safe when they do it.”

SACRAMENTO, Calif — As restaurant goers head out to try outdoor dining options, California's Department of Alcohol Beverage Control [ABC] is making sure those businesses are following health safety rules.

On Friday night, ABC visited restaurants in Sacramento to check if they were in compliance with the state’s coronavirus health guidelines, which includes making sure employees were wearing masks. Agent teams checked nearly 100 businesses Friday night, none of which had any violations.

“Generally, we are making sure that business are just trying to space people out,” Luke Blehm, supervising agent with ABC, said.

Statewide, ABC says that businesses have generally been following the rules. Up to 150 peace officers are visiting businesses, either in uniform or in plain clothes, after receiving a complaint or at random both in uniform and undercover.

Since the beginning of July, ABC has visited over 25,000 businesses and handed out 103 citations. There are 93,363 businesses with ABC licenses in the state.

Francisco Medina, manager of Mayahuel in Midtown Sacramento, said he wants his customers to feel safe.

“That way they can come back," Mayahuel said. 

ABC agents said they are focusing on educating businesses before reprimanding. If a business is found in violation of a rule, they could be issued a misdemeanor citation, which could come with a $1,000 fine. That business could also be in danger of having its license revoked, but before either of those options can be enforced, the business has the right to a hearing before a judge to present its case.

“We're going to be there to answer any questions,” Blehm said. “We care about our licensees and we want them to be successful, but we also want them to be safe when they do it.”


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