Danville spike in COVID cases comes as some restaurants defy orders

The Town of Danville is seeing a spike in coronavirus cases, which has raised enough of a concern that the town manager has urged residents to take precautions.

It comes as some restaurants in the town are remaining defiant of an order that bans outdoor dining and has vowed to keep serving customers.  

"We're not being defiant just to be defiant," said Bernadette Moufarrej, co-owner of Incontro Ristorante in downtown Danville.

Moufarrej said that she plans to continue serving customers even though she isn't supposed to and insists she is taking the proper precautions to keep customers safe.

"We're not forcing anybody to come and we're not forcing our employees to come back to work. Whoever is comfortable with it, come out," Moufarrej said Wednesday.

It comes as the Danville town manager alerted residents in a letter of an uptick in coronavirus cases with 170 people diagnosed over the past 14 days.

To help curb cases, some Contra Costa County supervisors want to slap businesses with much larger fines for defying the health order.

"I'd like to see $10,000, I'd like to see $15,000, I'd like to see $20,000. That will get their attention" said Supervisor Karen Mitchoff.

The proposed increase is much more than the current $1,000 fine issued to businesses that don't comply with the county health order.

However, not all lawmakers thought increased fines was the answer.

"I think that at this point, it is important for us and consumers to hold business accountable to say you know what, if you're operating when you're not supposed to that means you don't care about what's happening," said Supervisor Diane Burgis.

While another said the answer to the problematic spike may lay somewhere in the middle.

"It's like why are folks, code enforcement going out writing people up for some building code violation in the middle of a pandemic when they could be going out educationally before even writing a fine to get businesses to comply," said Supervisor John Gioia.

Supervisor Mitchoff wants to get her plan on the agenda for next week's board of supervisors meeting scheduled to take place Tuesday, Dec. 15th. their last meeting of the year.