A central California city has declared itself a "sanctuary city" — not for illegal immigrants — but in response to Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom's stay-at-home order.
The City of Atwater passed a resolution Friday that allows all city businesses, churches, and not-for-profit organizations to reopen despite the continuance of a mandatory state lockdown order, KFSN-TV reported.
"Affirming the city's commitment to fundamental constitutional rights and declaring the City of Atwater a sanctuary city for all businesses," the resolution read.
Even though California is moving to relax some restrictions, the state government's timeline is not quick enough for businesses and residents who have gone nearly two months without work.
"This is America. You have the choice. It's time for the government to stop dictating another month, another three months, six months," Atwater Mayor Paul Creighton said, according to KFSN. "When is it going to end? When everyone is bankrupt?"
Practically speaking, the order, which was both symbolic and legally binding, means that local authorities will not interfere with businesses that choose to reopen their doors, the Associated Press reported.
But that does not mean every business will reopen in Atwater, a city of about 30,000. For those businesses that operate under a state-issued license, such as bars and salons, reopening in defiance of the stay-at-home order could mean losing their operating licenses. Those businesses are likely to remain closed.
California state officials began relaxing restrictions in some areas of the state this month.
However, Merced County, in which Atwater is located, did not meet state guidelines to begin reopening and the lockdown order still applies in the county.