This weekend, the Erie County Comptroller's Office announced that multiple businesses were fined or closed due to violations of COVID-19 protocols.

Business has been hard in 2020.  That's a bit of an understatement.  Many businesses are just trying to keep their heads above water and are doing anything they can to keep some money rolling in.

In some cases, restaurants are not following protocols that are in place by the state and county to help stop the spread of COVID-19.  This weekend that became evident as they handed out fines and closed some businesses who were not following them.

Some of the violations that were cited in the report from the Erie County Comptroller's office were:

  • Operating indoor services against NYS rules
  • Overcrowding and/or lack of social distancing
  • Unmasked employee(s)
  • Standing while drinking/patrons served drinks when not sitting
  • Dancing without face masks
  • No food with alcohol
  • More than 50 people in attendance at function

The entire report can be found here.

The Erie County Health Department has been sending health inspectors to bars, restaurants, banquet halls and other entities in Erie County to inspect them for compliance with COVID-19 regulations, policies, procedures and executive orders since July.

This report however goes on to say that the Comptroller's office thinks the fines are inconsistent and need to be reviewed.

While we recognize the need for safety in our community, the violations and fines determined by the Health Department appear inconsistent." - Erie County Comptroller's Report On Fines Issued By The Health Department Under COVID-19 Policies

The argument isn't that they violated the protocols but rather that some of them could be considered arbitrary or subjective.

"During our look at inspections since regulations were put into place during the COVID-19 pandemic, we found violations to be arbitrary or subjective. While some restaurants were given a “non-critical” violation concerning staff not wearing a mask, others were written up for a “critical” violation for the same offense."