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Behind the Kitchen Door

Boone County health department investigates 24 complaints of COVID-19 health order violations

The health department sent KFC a notice of violation.
ABC 17 News
The health department sent KFC a notice of violation.

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

The Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services has conducted 24 inspections this month in response to complaints about businesses not following COVID-19 health orders.

Most of the inspection reports showed the businesses in compliance with both Columbia's mask ordinance and the county-wide health order.

Compliant establishments upon inspection:

  • Aug. 5: Hoss's Market and Rotisseri
  • Aug. 5: Steak 'n Shake (Worley Street)
  • Aug. 7: Bandana's Bar-B-Q
  • Aug. 10: Aldi (Business Loop 70)
  • Aug. 10: Como Smoke & Fire
  • Aug. 10: Steve-O's (the health department gave the convenience store signs detailing the city's mask ordinance)
  • Aug. 10: Dive Bar
  • Aug. 11: Addison's South
  • Aug. 11: McDonald's (Nifong Boulevard and North Stadium Boulevard)
  • Aug. 14: Dickey's Barbecue Pit
  • Aug. 17: Cracker Barrel
  • Aug. 19: Eastside Tavern
  • Aug. 19: Fastlane (Paris Road)
  • Aug. 19: Jersey Mike's (Grindstone Parkway)
  • Aug. 19: Taco Bell (Smiley Lane)
  • Aug. 20: Addison's Downtown
  • Aug. 20: Panera (Brickton Road)
  • Aug. 24: The Deuce

Kala Wekenborg-Tomka, the environmental public health supervisor at PHHS, said the health department is following up on each complaint it has jurisdiction over. However, not all complaints warranted an inspection.

"Sometimes we do handle things with a phone call just for efficiency, especially if we've already been to the business and have verified that they're compliant with the expectations of the orders," Wekenborg-Tomka said.

Businesses where PHHS flagged problems under the Columbia mask ordinance:

  • Aug. 3: Cracker Barrel
    "All but 1 customer/employees were wearing a mask at the time of inspection."
  • Aug. 4: Town & Country Lanes Kitchen
    "Responded to complaint that establishment was in violation of mask and social distancing ordinance. At time of inspection, all tables/groups were 6ft apart. Majority of patrons and all staff wearing masks. Management has asked all patrons to wear masks, those who aren't have stated they cannot due to medical reasons. Informed business a sign stating City of Columbia mask ordinance needs to be posted. Establishment otherwise operating within bounds of safety plan previously submitted to dept. 84 bowlers present at time of inspection."
  • Aug. 7: China Chef
    "Complaint inspection for mask complaint. No employees had masks on at time of inspection. Discussed mask ordinance and explained all employees must wear a mask at all times. Social distancing cannot be maintained in the establishment."
  • Aug. 17: Burger King on Clark Lane
    "Received complaint that employees weren't wearing masks in such a way that nose and mouth are covered. Multiple employees weren't wearing masks correctly at time of inspection. Education provided."
  • Aug. 17: KFC on Clark Lane
    "Received complaint that employees weren't wearing masks properly/at all. This is the 2nd time responding to this establishment. Multiple employees not wearing masks at time of inspection. Went over proper mask usage."

The inspection report for Kentucky Fried Chicken on Clark Lane refers to a previous visit on Aug. 7 for a routine inspection. The report stated that inspectors "discussed proper mask usage (over nose and mouth)."

Following the two non-compliant visits breaking the City of Columbia's mask ordinance, PHHS issued KFC a notice of violation. This was the only notice of violation filed against any of the inspected restaurants.

Wekenborg-Tomka also said they are receiving far more complaints regarding the COVID-19 health orders than the department typically receives and responds to.

"Regardless of whether we're dealing with COVID-19, or some other public health instance, or a crisis, we really do pride ourselves in providing education first," Wekenborg-Tomka said. "And we do really try to reach out as new orders come out or regulations change. We really have tried to reach out to all of our establishments to inform them of what the new regulations would be."

ABC 17 News Investigates / Columbia Video / Coronavirus / Health / News / 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.

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