SLO County sheriff and DA against criminalizing people violating coronavirus orders

December 9, 2020

Sheriff Ian Parkinson

As scores of business owners refuse to abide by the state’s strict coronavirus rules, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson and District Attorney Dan Dow said that enforcing coronavirus lockdown orders is not their job.

Triggered by an increase in patients in intensive care units at hospitals in Southern California, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order that went into effect Sunday evening. For the next three weeks, hair and nail salons, outdoor and indoor dining at restaurants, gyms and wineries are under orders to shut down.

Newsom’s order, which requires people to stay at home as much as possible, has led dozens of residents to turn in neighbors they suspect have violated the order.

However, sheriff deputies are not going to respond to calls for service based solely on complaints of non-compliance, nor will they stop people walking or driving to ask where they are going, Parkinson tweeted Tuesday. The department plans to focus on significant criminal matters while asking the business community for voluntary compliance of coronavirus restrictions.

“The Sheriff’s Office will not jeopardize the safety of this community and criminalize people who are trying to preserve their mental, physical, and financial health,” Parkinson tweeted.

From South County to Paso Robles, multiple restaurants are allowing customers to dine at their outdoor patios. In addition, several fitness centers are continuing to allow their clients to exercise inside, electing to violate the order and stay in business.

District Attorney Dan Dow

In response, San Luis Obispo City Attorney Christine Dietrich asked Dow to file misdemeanor charges against Kennedy Club Fitness. Dow declined, noting that if the city wants to “ensure compliance by Kennedy Club Fitness or any other business for violating coronavirus restrictions,” they can levy fines against the businesses.

“Families and businesses in our county are struggling to keep their head above water and survive financially,” Dow said. “There is no sense in labeling a business owner or a business as a criminal for choosing to keep their business open in a manner that adequately protects their customers – who, by the way, are not being forced to enter their business.”

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to petition the state to allow San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara and Ventura counties to separate from the Southern California region to form a Central Coast region, which would likely lead to relaxed rules.

In an attempt to show support for reopening, a group is planning a protest at Mission Plaza in SLO at 5 p.m. on Friday. Organizers, which include health care workers and business owners, are asking supporters to wear masks at the protest.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

“nor will they stop people walking or driving to ask where they are going”

Um, hysterical hyperbole aside, I’m pretty sure there are no actual cases of police doing this anywhere in this state in the first place.

Unless they are Black

If the federal government, two-thirds of which is controlled by Republicans, would pass a relief and stimulus bill, these shutdowns would be tolerable. Unfortunately, if you’re not ultra-wealthy or have a listing on the Dow, you don’t deserve assistance in the midst of a deadly pandemic. The Dow is currently at a record 30,000, yet we have millions in food lines and small businesses shuttering because Republicans in Congress and in the White House continue to ignore this health crisis. “It will go away, just like a miracle.”

Sorry AT, but Pelosi and Schumer don’t get a pass here. They both are just as much responsible for the situation we’re in. They were more interested in a political move called impeachment when the alarms were first going off in January. They have failed the American people equally as bad with their hate for a particular individual that they had no desire to work with solving the China virus. They used it as a weapon against all of us as it has turned out. Go blow smoke up their asses. They should be use to it by now.

Respectfully, that’s not my point. We should be past laying blame for the death and destruction. We’re ALL responsible. But, it seems unconscionable that the Republicans will not agree to a second relief/stimulus package which will get us past this current surge and buoy small business and workers as well as help fund state and local government. We all use those services.

Apparently you haven’t watched the news lately in which Pelosi admitted on camera that she wouldn’t sign a second stimulus because she didn’t want it to help Trump get re-elected. Clearly it was the Dems who held up the help for small businesses and they are horrible people.

Stay at home as much as possible. Isn’t that a little vague, Gubna?

Huge round of applause for some sense in this crazy city of ours! Hats off to Parkinson and Dow.

Dump the protest idea, be responsible, don’t give some old people COVID for the holidays, have a soul for a change

You can stay home and hide out all you want. Just leave the rest of us alone.

Jarvis you’re a real patriot. Stay strong, Trump needs the poorly educated.

Why do those trying to bankrupt small businesses continue to receive a six figure salary. If the SLO City Attorney wants charges filed against a business then she should experience the same economic impact she is trying to inflict upon others.

No, no, Mitch. It’s fine. The city can continue putting sales tax percentage increases on the ballot to offset the lost tax revenue and the sheeple will continue voting “yes” on such initiatives/measures.

Eventually, everything will collapse into “Utopia.”

LOL. there are 7 fire captains in SLO city that make over 300K a year. Dietrich makes 300k ayear including benes. keep taxing us baby.