COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Columbia/ Boone County health department could punish Boone County businesses two separate ways for not adhering to the current health order’s regulations.
Scott Clardy, The Columbia/ Boone County health department’s assistant director said on Monday that businesses in Boone County could be given a Notice of Violation or more recently a suspension of the business’ operating permit if the business has an authorized food permit.
According to the City of Columbia’s Coronavirus Information Official Documents, 15 Boone County businesses have been served a Notice of Violation during the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Willie’s Pub & Pool
- Country Club of Missouri
- Elite Barber Shop
- Truman’s Bar and Grill
- Plaza Tire
- Maxwell Family Chiropractic
- Midwest Petroleum
- U-Haul of Missouri
- Tiger Barber & Hairstyle Shop
- KFC on Clark Lane
- Midtown by Brookside
- Danny and Jeanette Nowlin
- Father Tolton Catholic High School
- AMF Town and Country Lanes
Examples of what could cause a business to receive a notice of violation are large crowds inside with no social distancing measures in place, no standing bar, counter or buffet service or masks were not worn by employees or customers when needed.
The violations are sent to the city prosecutor, Robert Rinck. While fines, if there are any given, are made by the municipal court.
While the Columbia/Boone County Health Department has suspended three Boone County businesses’ operating permits since the renewal of the health department’s modified reopening plan on September 18th.
- Room 38
- Nash Vegas
- La Siesta
Clardy said this new punishment puts a halt on the individual business’s operating permit which means they have to close their doors to the public until a new operation plan is submitted and approved by the health department.
Businesses could see their operating permit suspended for the following reasons: not abiding by social distancing guidelines, occupancy requirements, allowed bar seating and groups intermingling.
Clardy said the difference between a notice of violation from the health department and a suspension of an operating permit is if a business has a food code.
Businesses like hair salons, barbershops or tire shops would not be eligible to receive a suspension on its operating permit.
Clardy said giving businesses notices of violation was not making an impact on businesses as they had hoped.
He said the process takes more time as the violation goes through a judicial process and staying in business while making money while suspending an operating permit is an immediate impact as the business has to close.
“If a facility is a permitted food establishment,” Clardy said. “Then the health department has authority in the food code to suspend their license if they are taking actions that are detrimental to public health.”
Clardy said there are a couple of reasons why the health department decided to use the food code.
It made businesses comply more quickly and it’s a better way to deal with an individual establishment as opposed to trying to deal with the bar and restaurant industry as a whole.
If the health department suspends an operating permit, officials will not give the business a notice of violation. Clardy said it’s because the suspension operating permit will get to what the health department is trying to accomplish.
“It usually ends up with us just sitting down with the manager doing some education and awareness,” Clardy said. “Providing some ideas on how they could control some things in the crowd that they're having trouble controlling those types of things. So that's really the mode that we've always done, education first and when education doesn't work that's when we do something more forceful.”
Clardy said suspending business’ operating permits have worked to stop the violations so far.
He said if the three or one of those three that already have their permit suspended become a problem again or a different becomes a continual problem, then the health department would look into other options.
Although, Clardy wasn't sure exactly what the options would be as of Monday.
Clardy said Boone County businesses should expect this type of punishment to continue in all the health orders moving forward.
“It's an additional tool that we have that can make an immediate impact,” Clardy said.”
The current Columbia and Boone County health order is set to expire on Tuesday, October 6th unless extended by the health director.
ABC 17 News reached out to all businesses who were given a Notice of Violation or had its operating permit suspended but received no comment.