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Behind the Kitchen Door

Two Columbia businesses charged with violating COVID-19 health orders

Columbia's prosecutor charged two businesses with violating the COVID-19 health order.
Columbia's prosecutor charged two businesses with violating the COVID-19 health order.


The city prosecutor has filed charges against two Columbia businesses for violating the current COVID-19 health order: Willies Pub & Pool and the Country Club of Missouri.

The Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services issued notices of violations that led to the charges, which are misdemeanors under city code. The department also issued a notice to Truman's Bar & Grill on Monday, but the information has not arrived at the prosecutor's office yet. These are the only three notices of violation against establishments in Columbia issued by health authorities.

Each business is accused of violating Order No. 2020-07. That reopening order was extended through Aug. 10 as COVID-19 cases surged in Boone County.

The order allows restaurants and bars to reopen without any capacity requirements. However, the order mandates social distancing in the establishments.

Businesses, including country clubs, that are deemed as "open to the public" by the health order, are also required to maintain social distancing. They have an added occupancy limit of 50 percent or 100 people, whichever is fewer.

ABC 17 News attempted to contact each establishment. Each either declined to comment or did not respond to requests for comment.

The notice of violation was sent to Willie's Pub & Pool in regard to crowds not social distancing on June 26, according to the health department.

Inspectors were following up on a complaint that a customer reached over the bar and drank from a soda gun. They also received a complaint about lack of social distancing.

Read the inspection report below:

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According to the notice sent to the Country Club of Missouri, the health department accused the establishment of not following capacity limits and not social distancing at an event on July 11.

ABC 17 News saw photographs posted to Instagram by the country club that showed crowds of people at the Saturday event. They since have been taken down from social media.

The health department inspected the Country Club of Missouri on July 14 following a complaint about the event and the social media posts. Read what they found below:

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The health department accused Truman's Bar & Grill of not adhering to social distancing because tables were too close together. The notice claimed that patrons were sitting at the bar.

Order No. 2020-07 says there "shall be no standing bar, counter or buffet service" without special permission from the health department.

Inspectors had visited Truman's Bar & Grill on Monday in response to a complaint. According to the comments in the inspection report, none of the staff were wearing masks despite the city ordinance.

Read the inspection report below:

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City Prosecutor Robert J. Rinck said the first priority of any ordinance is compliance.

"Even if charges are filed in these cases, our end goal is the general welfare of the public and if we can accomplish that through education and guidance from our health experts, it goes a long way towards resolving these cases," Rinck said. 

Both the Country Club of Missouri and Willie's Pub & Pool have municipal court hearings scheduled for 9 a.m. Aug. 26.

ABC 17 News Investigates / Boone / Columbia / Columbia City Government / Columbia Video / Coronavirus / News / Politics / Top Stories / Video
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Molly Stawinoga

Molly Stawinoga is ABC 17’s weekday morning anchor and a reporter at ABC 17 News. Molly joined the news team in 2017 while studying political science, journalism and Spanish at the University of Missouri. She is originally from DeKalb, Illinois.


1 Comment

  1. Please explain why Columbia is more restrictive now, as the mortality rate continues to spiral down, than it was a couple of months ago when we did not know what that rate was. Your so called “health experts” have gotten a taste of power, along with the city council, and fallen in love with it. Using the ridiculously exaggerated death count put forth by national “experts”, the current mortality rate is about 0.036%, about the same as a bad influenza. Given news yesterday that the case count is very likely 2-13 times higher than proclaimed, the mortality rate is likewise 2-13 times LOWER. Which would make it about the same as for ordinary influenza, or less. Add to that about half of deaths are among persons 70+ years old with comorbidity, please explain the need for such aggressive restriction.

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