News

Danville cancels weekend street closures due to COVID-19 concerns

Town staff cite 'gross violations' of health order; one block 'created almost a Mardi Gras type of atmosphere'

Faced with repeated COVID-19 health order violations by a handful of downtown Danville establishments, and capped by an Oct. 17 fight within a section of Hartz Avenue closed to allow outdoor restaurant operation, the town of Danville will cancel the weekend closure of the street for the immediate future.

At a special meeting Tuesday morning, the Danville Town Council, along with Police Chief Allan Shields, said the weekends-only closure of Hartz Avenue between Diablo Road and Prospect Avenue that started in June ended beginning Oct. 24.

Shields and others said police and town staff had seen "gross violations" of, and gotten complaints about, a lack of social distancing and mask wearing among visitors, as well as alcohol being served separately from meals and live, amplified music, which are not allowed.

Shields said the businesses -- three or four have had repeated problems, he and others said -- have been talked to multiple times, and kept saying they would comply with the rules, only to revert to violating them again.

"We've appealed to all of our businesses ... to voluntarily comply with the health order," Town Manager Joe Calabrigo told the council Tuesday. He also said closing that one-block portion of Hartz Avenue has, at times, "created almost a Mardi Gras type of atmosphere" there.

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Though Danville officials said they know the street closure benefits the various establishments along Hartz Avenue in the heart of Danville's downtown, Councilwoman Renee Morgan said the sort of revelry has prompted complaints to the town, forced repeated warnings by police and has gotten the attention of county health officials isn't what town officials are looking for during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has brought Danville unwanted attention recently for recording relatively high numbers for new COVID-19 cases -- 35 in the town over the past two weeks.

That Contra Costa County will, possibly Tuesday, enter the state's less-restrictive "orange tier" allowing businesses to host more people and provide more services makes doing everything possible to increase compliance that much more important, council members said.

Councilman Newell Arnerich stressed it is the bad actions of a few businesses that are forcing the actions that affect many.

"We have a few bad actors ... but we have a responsibility to protect the public, and the businesses that are doing a great job," Arnerich said.

Public safety, Councilman Robert Storer said, is the top priority.

"We have no other alternative but to leave the street open," Storer said.

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Danville cancels weekend street closures due to COVID-19 concerns

Town staff cite 'gross violations' of health order; one block 'created almost a Mardi Gras type of atmosphere'

Uploaded: Tue, Oct 27, 2020, 3:30 pm

Faced with repeated COVID-19 health order violations by a handful of downtown Danville establishments, and capped by an Oct. 17 fight within a section of Hartz Avenue closed to allow outdoor restaurant operation, the town of Danville will cancel the weekend closure of the street for the immediate future.

At a special meeting Tuesday morning, the Danville Town Council, along with Police Chief Allan Shields, said the weekends-only closure of Hartz Avenue between Diablo Road and Prospect Avenue that started in June ended beginning Oct. 24.

Shields and others said police and town staff had seen "gross violations" of, and gotten complaints about, a lack of social distancing and mask wearing among visitors, as well as alcohol being served separately from meals and live, amplified music, which are not allowed.

Shields said the businesses -- three or four have had repeated problems, he and others said -- have been talked to multiple times, and kept saying they would comply with the rules, only to revert to violating them again.

"We've appealed to all of our businesses ... to voluntarily comply with the health order," Town Manager Joe Calabrigo told the council Tuesday. He also said closing that one-block portion of Hartz Avenue has, at times, "created almost a Mardi Gras type of atmosphere" there.

Though Danville officials said they know the street closure benefits the various establishments along Hartz Avenue in the heart of Danville's downtown, Councilwoman Renee Morgan said the sort of revelry has prompted complaints to the town, forced repeated warnings by police and has gotten the attention of county health officials isn't what town officials are looking for during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It has brought Danville unwanted attention recently for recording relatively high numbers for new COVID-19 cases -- 35 in the town over the past two weeks.

That Contra Costa County will, possibly Tuesday, enter the state's less-restrictive "orange tier" allowing businesses to host more people and provide more services makes doing everything possible to increase compliance that much more important, council members said.

Councilman Newell Arnerich stressed it is the bad actions of a few businesses that are forcing the actions that affect many.

"We have a few bad actors ... but we have a responsibility to protect the public, and the businesses that are doing a great job," Arnerich said.

Public safety, Councilman Robert Storer said, is the top priority.

"We have no other alternative but to leave the street open," Storer said.

— Bay City News Service

Comments

Claudette McDermott
Registered user
Del Prado
on Oct 28, 2020 at 9:41 am
Claudette McDermott, Del Prado
Registered user
on Oct 28, 2020 at 9:41 am

City leaders are acting very appropriately in this case, and closing down the opportunities that the downtown enjoyed, when they were no longer complying with the safety measures for the community. It's true that a few rotten apples spoiled it for the bunch. Had those businesses kept their patrons in line, the rest of the community as well as their own businesses, could be enjoying more business, that the street closures had offered. A lesson that we all should take into consideration as COVID19 is not going away.


SFGirl
Registered user
Parkside
on Oct 28, 2020 at 10:17 am
SFGirl, Parkside
Registered user
on Oct 28, 2020 at 10:17 am

Why not deal with the businesses violating the orders or close down that block. This sounds like the punishment dealt out to a 1st grade class - bad apples?? Choking off every business's livelihood as we head into winter seems short-sighted and punitive.


Rich Buckley
Registered user
Livermore
on Oct 30, 2020 at 5:53 am
Rich Buckley, Livermore
Registered user
on Oct 30, 2020 at 5:53 am

10/30/2020 Dr. Fauci should be exonerated or indicted.

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