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Department of Public Health begins handing out citations — as it said it would

Department of Public Health begins handing out citations — as it said it would

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RACINE — The city said it would do it, and Racine is being true to its word.

The Department of Public Health began visiting businesses on Thursday to ensure ordinances designed to impede the spread of COVID-19 were being followed.

The department announced at the beginning of the week that it would begin active enforcement due to increasing cases of the coronavirus.

Dottie-Kay Bowersox, public health administrator for the city, said the department visited eight businesses checking for compliance with the Safer Racine ordinances.

Three businesses were cited for being out of compliance, three other businesses were in partial compliance and were given information to guide them on doing business more safely, and two businesses were in compliance.

Of the businesses that were cited, two of the businesses were cited for having employee(s) without face masks. One business was cited for not properly spacing furniture the required number of feet apart.

The decision to move to a more aggressive compliance stance was based on two factors: 1) complaints from the public, and 2) the significant surge in COVID-19 cases in both the city and in Racine County.

Bowersox said the pandemic has been going on long enough that individuals should understand what is expected in their establishments.

“We must continue to take the pandemic seriously as the virus continues to spread throughout this community making individuals ill and stressing finite resources,” Bowersox said.

Sgt. Chad Melby of the Racine Police Department said law enforcement will assist the Department of Health if requested.

Melby said that, to date, the RPD has been passing out face masks and trying to educate people about the guidelines intended to stall the spread of COVID.

He concluding by noting that business owners and workers should not hesitate to call the police if someone refuses to follow the mask mandate.

The Department of Health warned residents earlier in the week that it would begin taking action to enforce the Safer Racine ordinance due to noncompliance.

  • The first violation of the mask ordinance by an individual could lead to a citation and fine of $25, a second offense is $50, and $100 for a third offense.
  • A business could be fined $50 to $100 for ignoring the mask ordinance.
  • Additionally, the city could pursue business license revocation for those business owners who ignore the Safer Racine ordinances.

The mask ordinance requires most people over the age of 5 to wear face coverings while in any indoor or outdoor space that is open to the public.

Both individuals and businesses can be cited. If someone does not mask up while in a business, and the business doesn’t enforce the mask requirement, both the business and the customer can be fined.

The Safer Racine ordinance outlines the requirements for businesses with rules that include limiting building occupancy, in addition to many others.

Bowersox said Racine is experiencing greater numbers of COVID-19 positive individuals than this past spring when COVID first presented in the area.

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