Local Business Owners Speak Out at Fresno City Hall

A small gathering happened right outside Fresno City Hall yesterday.

Local Clovis business owners called for a press conference to express their frustration with the unfair shutdown.

They are asking local and state officials how COVID-19 cases are being calculated. They say they are fed uncertain data with no economic restoration for their businesses.

In the last seven months, small businesses have endured hardship, struggling to keep their businesses from falling under.

Finally, many businesses have fallen short, falling behind in rent, and are unable to pay their employees. Some businesses had to shut down permanently.

“When we started our business, there was no internet, no mobile phones, no Yelp, no Facebook. We built our business on handshakes and hugs. That is still our motto today. We survived the recession, we survived 9/11, but if they keep closing us down, we won’t survive this virus,” says Jesse Mendoza, owner of Salsa’s Cantina, Old Town Cafe, and The Local.

If Fresno County falls back into the purple tier, some businesses have decided they will continue to keep their doors open.

“I can’t handle the anxiety and the stress. I don’t want to have a heart attack and leave my family. I’m more fearful about having a heart attack than contracting the virus…the pressures that they have put on us in the last seven months, is not right,” Manny Perales, owner of the Yosemite Falls Restaurants.

In the span of the seven months of COVID-19, Perales had to shut down one of five of his restaurants.

He says he tosses and turns at night with anxiety about how to keep his businesses afloat.

Perales says the numbers that determine if Fresno County is in the purple tier or red tier are skewed.

“Every other Tuesday, they make that decision, what tier are you in, whether you are going to be open or closed. We’ve had enough; we aren’t going backward anymore. We cannot afford to go backward anymore, so if we are asked to shut down, we are going to continue to open,” says Perales.

Tori Lavon is a Multimedia Journalist from Reedley, California. She received her Bachelor's in Mass Communications and Journalism with an emphasis in Broadcasting from California State University, Fresno. Currently, she is a radio intern at One Putt Broadcasting. On occasion, Tori has the opportunity to be on-air with talent. She is getting her start in media. She has a passion for reporting, photography, and videography. Tori also has a love for art; she loves to draw, paint, and does pottery on the side. One day she hopes she can be on-air talent at a radio station as well.