20200306-bc-CityManager (copy)

Bakersfield City Manager Christian Clegg is seen in this file photo.

Bakersfield City Manager Christian Clegg downplayed a local emergency declaration he issued late Thursday evening in response to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order, saying at a press conference Friday the city would largely remain open for business.

“It’s not something particularly exciting,” Clegg said of the declaration. “It’s a very routine action that we’re taking as a formality.”

The city announced Clegg's declaration at around 11 p.m. Thursday, following the governor’s order that all Californians should only venture outside under certain circumstances, like to perform essential jobs, buy groceries or to exercise.

Newsom’s order is meant to slow the spread of the new coronavirus by limiting person-to-person interaction, but it left many business owners confused about whether they should shut down or stay open. On Friday, many businesses in Bakersfield could be seen operating as usual, possibly in violation of the new state directive.

Clegg said during the press conference local law enforcement would not be policing violations of the governor’s action.

“(We’re) hoping that everyone will do what’s right by the public good for their community,” he said. “The governor referenced social pressures, and encouraging people to follow these guidelines voluntarily because it is the right thing to do. The city is not in a position to begin doing enforcement of the stay-at-home order. Just as the governor stated, that’s largely going to be voluntary.”

Except in situations of egregious health and public safety concern, police will not step in.

He added the city would create a summary on its website, www.bakersfieldcity.us/covid19, that could help identify which businesses the state considers essential, and which ones should temporarily close. The summary, however, was not immediately available.

The state has created its own website designed to answer questions Californians might have about the governor’s order. The website is https://covid19.ca.gov/

On Friday, it remained unclear how much would change in local government as a result of the new emergency declaration. The city had already been the subject of Kern County’s emergency order issued on Monday, and had taken several measures to limit staffing and cancel certain functions, like large activities in local parks, to combat coronavirus.

“This stay home order from the governor doesn’t really change to a large degree the activities that we already have been doing for several weeks to make sure that we do slow down the spread of the coronavirus,” Clegg said. “This is a big deal. We do need to take precautions, but we don’t need to panic.”

While city staff will be limited to only those essential for city business, most city functions would continue, albeit at a slower pace. Some city employees will be allowed to work from home, and others will be placed on administrative leave. On Friday, exact figures for city staffing levels were not available.

Many city offices will remain open throughout the local emergency. However, the city plans to put into place social distancing procedures to protect the staff from coronavirus.

Clegg urged the public to conduct business through the internet or over the phone. In a news release, the city urged those who could wait to do so.

The declaration has an indefinite length, and must be ratified by the City Council, which is next scheduled to meet on Wednesday.

City services that will not be impacted include:

  • The Wednesday City Council meeting is planned to take place as originally scheduled with an abbreviated agenda.
  • Police response
  • Fire response
  • Water
  • Wastewater
  • Solid Waste
  • Streets
  • Rapid Response Teams
  • Fleet support to health and safety services
  • Technology support to health and safety services

Sam Morgen can be reached at 661-395-7415. Follow him on Twitter: @smorgenTBC.

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(25) comments

She Dee

NON-ESSENTIAL businesses should not be open. Period. Do these small businesses who are staying open have some hidden agenda for endangering the public? I refuse to put my life in danger just to go shopping. So should the rest of society. Only go out if you absolutely must go to get LIFE ESSENTIALS. I wish these public servants would do a better job.

She Dee

I have to guess that the Downtown Businesses who do choose to stay open will eventually suffer a loss in business due to their lack of concern for their fellow citizens. Perhaps the State Board of Equalization can suspend their resale numbers as a way of getting them to cease doing business in time of crisis CRISIS PEOPLE. YES, WE HAVE A CRISIS of epic proportions going on & so many of you are just not getting it!

All Star

The businesses are not breaking any laws by staying open. Who made you queen of the universe?

She Dee

That's a telling post All Star. Speaks volumns to your social upbringing and lack of responsibility to your fellow citizens. Talk about entitlement. I nominate you for their new Posterboy/person! My 66 years on this planet & life experience gives me the right to speak out against my brothers & sister who are abusing the rest of us in the name of "freedom". I don't care if it is or is not against the law. I just see it as WRONG!

BearsEatBeets

I like our new City Manager. I have a feeling he’s going to be perfect for the city. He’s right by not overreacting; let’s keep as many local businesses open and running as we can because once we lose them we might never get them back. And everyone stop panic buying! You’re keeping people who truly need things from getting them.

Mrknowitall

Yeah. Very routine is what is going on. What an idiott. People in ZBako are going to be dying like hot cakes within 58 days. Dropping like flies. Sooo instead of screaming at the top of his lungs toIl: Isolate NOW—(since he didn’t scream it a month ago) he quietly suggests the ignorant unwashed Masses of Bako vomit voluntarily do something a moron knows they should do. DO NOT spread. Stay home you filthy Philistines! You mentally twisted backwater yokels. Go home. Stay home. It’s simple, like you are. Ok. Now shut up n take a bath n brush those green mossy teeth.

She Dee

Are you kidding me? Sounds as if this New City Manager that you hold in such high regard is just another low IQ graduate from a Community College...or most of the business owners/managers/employees who are keeping their doors open are doing some sort of a trade-out to get something for nothing. Or would that be nothing for something? I hope there's a WATCHDOG GROUP in the community driving around and taking down business names and addresses to FINE/REPORT these shops & the people who have chosen to open their doors for non-essential services. They endanger the health and safety of us ALL due to their SELFISHNESS.

All Star

What are they going to be fined for? You are making a fool of yourself with these comments.

All Star

Today on The Jaz McKay Show he kept referring to Christian Clegg as the "interim city manager". What a moron.

Mrknowitall

Jazz is a bigot and fits perfect here. He repeats the Zgox News company line and has zero brainpower. What a loser. They hired him over at his last gig for racist behavior. But Bako cannot git enuff if that brand of entertainment do another radio station scoooed him up. What’s up with that gnarly freak nose ZJazz? Every lies n your nose twists grotesquely. Kinda like a Nako Pinocchio. Wonderful! Blood shot eyes, alcohol twisted Schnozz and an empty head. Portrait of ZBako!

Masked 2020

at least Donald has the Plan....Carnival Cruse ships can now be used as fancy homeless shelters for those unfortunate victims of Great Pandemic of 2020......In Donald We Trust.....God Save America

Gene Pool Chlorinator

So, now you have something against the homeless?

Your deranged- always want it both ways. Guess what, it doesn't work that way Yorkies.

Put America first and quit the partisan BS...

Mrknowitall

In Donald we die. The dunce should have immediately shut down cities ZBEFZoRE the virus spread. Instead he ssd it was under control. A hoax. Would miraculously disappear. And now his dumb base will lose millions to this virus. All he had to do is tell the truth. Couldn’t fo it.

Where are Trump folks ordering masks to be manufactured? Nope. Everyone is home. Thousands could mobilize and produce them which would save millions of lives. But no. He’s too stupid.

REMUDA

Oh yeah . . . and BTW . . . a lot of us guys really don't miss all that 'huggin' and pats on the backsides. Even a handshake was preferable . . . but earlier replaced with elbow bumps (now also too close for the 6-foot standoff for the duration).

But . . . that old Spock Vulcan salute ("Live Long and Prosper") works now better than ever . . . !

REMUDA

The final service not impacted is the 1% increased sales tax . . . for y'all who still go shopping . . .!

In fact . . . who knows . . . "we may have to increase that new tax due to reduced sales, now that all the TP is gone . . . to 'clear the way' . . . "!

Gary Crabtree

The only person that should be locked down in jail without access to anyone iis Gavin Newsom.

Moardeeb

You should thank God you have Newsom. All the Epidemiologists are calling him this nation's real leader. Dump Trump. Really showing his IQ now.

Veritas

Hey, I have to grudgingly admit even Navin Grewsom gets lucky and doesn’t something right on rare occasions.

Gene Pool Chlorinator

@Veritas- the Law of Large Numbers... LOL

Mrknowitall

How bout a Trump for lying to your faces Gary? Hoax. Just a flu. Gone in a month. Under control. In the meantime he couldn’t even get Trstd out to the public. Took two weeks. 2 eeeks of soread whivh you have a high % of getting her vitus n dying. How ya like them apples? Dummy. You deserve each other. U n ZRushbb

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Moardeeb

Right on!

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Moardeeb

Ever heard of HIPPA? You can't disclose private medical info. Some nut might show up to murder you.

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bakodon

duh....HIS COMMENTS ARE RIGHT ON...COUNTRY IS STAFFED BY IMPOTENT FACELESS BUREAUCRATS!

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