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Atwater, California. (Photo: Youtube)

Atwater Declares Itself a ‘Sanctuary City’, Ends All Lockdown Orders

Merced County city becomes first city to defy state orders using ‘business sanctuary’ declaration

By Evan Symon, May 17, 2020 9:42 am

On Friday, the Atwater City Council voted to declare itself a ‘sanctuary city’ from the statewide lockdown order, allowing all businesses in the city to reopen.

Atwater, a Merced County city of 30,000 people located 8 miles away from the city of Merced, will also allow all non-profits, such as places of worship, to open as well.

The City Council passed the sanctuary city declaration as a way for the economy to start up again, a gesture of defiance to Governor Gavin Newsom’s order, and to affirm ‘the city’s commitment to fundamental constitutional rights.’

“This is America,” noted Atwater Mayor Paul Creighton on Friday. “You have the choice. It’s time for the government to stop dictating another month, another three months, six months. When is it going to end? When everyone is bankrupt?”

However, despite the city giving the green light for all city businesses being allowed to open, state law is still in effect here in many ways. Atwater businesses that have state licenses, such as restaurants, bars, and salons, could be punished by the state before the state allows their businesses to open. If they open without state approval, California may take away their respective licenses.

“We’re not looking to jeopardize anyone’s business,” added Mayor Creighton. “That’s a license you hold with the state of California. So, we don’t want to cause any harm there, use your best judgment.

If you do have a state license, that’s between you and the state of California.”

Atwater also puts itself at greater risk of spreading the coronavirus.

“Even smaller towns get a huge jump in risk by not following health guidelines and orders,” noted Fresno area nurse Jennifer Graham. “A lot of people who had coronavirus here have gone out to parks and things in more rural areas. Through all the small stores and gas stations and everything, it can spread.

California is already being very cautious. Atwater just declaring itself open like that, well, it’s potentially very dangerous for peoples health.”

Detractors have been the minority in Atwater however. At the Friday meeting, most people coming up to speak were for the sanctuary city reopening, not to mention members of the City Council and the Mayor voicing approval as well.

Councilman Brian Raymond, who proposed the sanctuary city declaration, noted that some Californian cities, such as Coalinga, have simply declared that all businesses as being essential. But Raymond also noted that no city had declared itself a sanctuary city for businesses until Atwater.

Merced County health officials have noted that, in addition to the health and safety risks, that Atwater’s defiance could lead to the state not giving some funding to the city and the county post-coronavirus and could also possibly lead to a lawsuit with the state. As of Saturday, the state has not taken any action against Atwater.

To date, Merced County has had 200 cases of coronavirus being reported. There are 67 active cases, with 6 deaths also being reported by the County.

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11 thoughts on “Atwater Declares Itself a ‘Sanctuary City’, Ends All Lockdown Orders

  1. This is my town and I couldn’t be prouder. Now if only the sheriff would start arresting the 20,000 illegal invaders. Our small republican bubble was at 10,000 before the invasion. GET THEM OUT. Get on it Warnke you’re up for re-election and so far all I’ve seen is a nicely paved road to your home.

    1. Atwater *should* be proud; throwing it in Gov. Hairgel’s face is awesome. 🙂 Frankly, I’m just down the road in Merced and I wouldn’t have thought Atwater had it in them.

      Go easy on Warnke; he’s a good pro-Second sheriff who’s been resisting a lot of pressure from the “Si, Se Puede” crowd here in the county, which is not easy to do given the demographic changes we’ve seen in the last two decades.

  2. This is my town we were 100% republican before the invasion. We went from 10,000 to 30,000, The sheriff is enjoying his perks nice newly paved road to his home while the rest of the town falls apart. Merced mayor is a corrupt criminal as was the last one. Warnke is up for re-election hope you enjoyed scamming the city Warnke you allowed this invasion…….It’s over for you.

  3. I can’t help but notice that most of the fears regarding opening up for business are about retaliation from the “loving and caring” progressives in Sacramento. No one should fear losing their license for operating a legal business. The licensing issue needs to be revisited. Licensing was originally about maintaining professional standards, not a leash for the government to yank every time they want you to comply with their latest dictates.

    1. Hey Atwater! Fantastic! I’m planning a roadtrip to visit this coming weekend. Where would you recommend a visitor spend some $$ ?

  4. jeez…how did that corrupt sheriff get in office….i am so sick of corruption….other than that jerk sounds like a great place to live….i will come for a visit. great that you live in a place where people think for themselves and live without fear!

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