Clovis Makes Moves to Reopen Businesses

(Ron Sundquist/Clovis Roundup)

Following Monday’s Clovis City Council meeting there are a lot of questions among residents and business owners regarding stay-at-home policies connected to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Clovis continues to be governed by the state’s stay-at-home order. All businesses and residents in the City of Clovis are subject to the statewide stay-at-home order, plus any additional guidance from the Fresno County Health Officer.

The City of Clovis does not and never has had its own shelter-in-place order. They’ve been following the State of California stay-at-home order that was issued on March 20th

The City of Clovis had previously issued emergency orders that provided direction to bars, restaurants, gyms and entertainment facilities regarding operations and closures during the pandemic. Monday, the City Council voted to repeal the orders that were redundant to the state’s stay-at-home order.

The City Council also made changes to the way the City of Clovis will enforce closures. 

The City of Clovis says they will be relying primarily on the Fresno County Health Officer, California Department of Public Health and California Office of Emergency Services for enforcement responsibility.

The City of Clovis may issue a verbal or written warning, when necessary and retains the authority to issue administrative citations in egregious situations where the state or county refuse, decline or ignore a request for enforcement.

Councilmember Lynne Ashbeck was the lone “no” vote for the resolution. She says she wanted language to be more clear and affirmative.

“It took us a while to navigate how to get here, but we have arrived,” Councilmember Bob Whalen said in a statement to the Clovis Roundup. “As we now trust our businesses to reopen, our businesses will be trusting its customers to abide by social distancing and good hygiene. Whether this was the right call will be determined by health and economic data over the next couple of months. Let’s be smart and show other communities that killing the virus doesn’t mean you have to destroy the jobs which financially support your community.”

The Clovis City Council also approved two letters to be sent to California Governor Gavin Newsom. One requests funding for coronavirus relief. The other seeks permission to allow businesses to reopen.

The letters, signed by Mayor Drew Bessinger, explain that Clovis and other Central Valley cities are different from San Francisco and Los Angeles and therefore have different needs.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has started to loosen the stay-at-home order. He announced earlier this week that some retail businesses could begin to open statewide on Friday, but just for curbside pickup. 

Newsom also said during a press briefing this week that local leaders have the authority to accelerate or slow down reopening at the county level. At this time Fresno County has not lifted the stay-at-home order. There have been nine deaths from COVID-19 in Fresno County as of May 6th.

The City of Clovis wants business owners and managers to be ready to open when the state and/or county says they can.

To help, the City of Clovis sent a letter to business owners and managers, Tuesday afternoon, further explaining the City of Clovis shelter-in-place policy.

The letter says in part, “The Governor has begun the process for reopening non-essential businesses, subject to specified health and safety mitigation measure. In order to assist Clovis businesses in being prepared to immediately reopen as the Governor rolls out the business reopening process, Clovis prepared a guidance document based upon available public information as to what health and safety mitigation measures will likely be required to reopen.”

The Clovis Guidance Document can be found on the City’s Economic Development website,

The Clovis Guidance Document is a checklist for reopening businesses. It suggests things like changing layouts and creating barriers to allow for social distancing. There are also links to where things like masks and hand sanitizer can be purchased.

Business owners can get help with questions from the City of Clovis Economic Development Office. Email Andy Haussler at

“Together, we can get through this,” Councilmember Vong Mouanoutoua said in a statement to the Clovis Roundup.Undoubtedly, there will be difficult decisions involving complex issues and competing values. Let us not lose hope. The ancestors of this great City came together in times past and overcame greater adversities because they maintained their faith, kept their resolve and held onto this nation’s founding principles. It is our time to do the same.”

Sarah Soghomonian is an Emmy Award winning journalist who has been telling the stories of the unique people and places of the Central Valley for nearly 15 years. She's a graduate of Fresno State's Mass Communications and Journalism Department and has worked at CBS47 and ValleyPBS. In addition to her work as a television producer, Sarah is a freelance journalist who's articles have appeared in many local newspapers and publications. A lifelong Valley resident, Sarah loves her community and wants to do her part to make it a better place. Facebook link: