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Businesses Buck Rules With Packed Indoor Dining In Stanislaus County

OAKDALE (CBS13) — Packed parking lots and indoor seating. A Friday night dinner out looks very different depending on the county you live in.

Some businesses face tens of thousands of dollars in fines while others are not cited at all.

In Stanislaus County, the enforcement approach is focused on education. CBS13 noticed many restaurants with every single indoor table being used even though the stay-at-home order is still in effect.

"Keep it going, keep it going," said Douglas Clark.

Some locals said they support businesses staying open to pay their bills. A Sacramento resident passing through town said it was refreshing to see the indoor dining.

"In a way, it's good because sometimes you feel normal. Like we're going back to normal. As opposed to Sacramento where you feel like you're in lockdown all the time 24/7," said Fabian Orozco.

A spokesperson for Stanislaus County said that to her knowledge, the county has not issued any citations. She said, "We receive the complaints and send them code enforcement entities in the cities where violations happen. It's up to the cities to decide whether or not to fine a business."

Meanwhile, just miles away in El Dorado County, businesses bucking the orders face tens of thousands of dollars in fines.

CBS 13 has spoken to the owner of Café El Dorado many times. She said she stays open to survive financially. She's one of three business owners in the county that have racked up almost $150,000 in fines for allowing indoor dining.

El Dorado County officials said payment is past due and invoices are headed to collections.

The shutdown rules that ban indoor dining are based on ICU capacity. Right now in the San Joaquin Valley, which includes Stanislaus County, ICU capacity is at 0%.

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