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Denver tickets 20 businesses — and shuts down 5 — for mask, social distancing violations

mayor michael hancock mask
Posted at 4:46 PM, Aug 03, 2020

DENVER — City officials issued 20 tickets to Denver businesses over the weekend for violations of public health orders, including customers and staff not wearing masks, no social distancing and other compliance issues.

The Denver Department of Public Health and Environment had joined with sheriff deputies to step up enforcement of the orders over the weekend.

City inspectors also shut down five businesses for violations, officials said:

• The Welcome Inn, 3659 Chestnut Place
• Your Mom's House, 608 E. 13th Ave.
• PT's Show Club, 1601 W. Evans Ave. and 3480 S. Galena St.
• Zanzibar, 2046 Larimer St.

The businesses were shut down because they had previously been warned about not following orders or their violations were "egregious," city officials said in a news release.

A city spokesperson said both the Welcome Inn and Your Mom's House had more than 20 people mingling around the bar. The Welcome Inn was serving alcohol after 10 p.m. and one employee wasn't wearing a mask, officials said. At Your Mom's House, about 30 patrons were mingling with no social distancing and a performer was 1-2 feet away from patrons.

"They shut us down immediately," said James Bedwell, co-owner of Your Mom’s House Bar. "The health department and one police officer came in right around 8 p.m. on Saturday night and just shut us down."

The owners said the inspectors saw a group of people gathering, even though the tables were split up.

More information was not provided on the other businesses that were shut down.

City enforcement teams had previously issued about 30 citations, mostly for face covering violations, since May and more than 12,500 warnings.

"We have been talking for some time now about increased enforcement of our public health orders. Historically her have been focused on those facilities in which we have received complaints," said Bob McDonald, the public health administrator for the City of Denver. "We have ramped that up now and we have public health investigators partnering with members of the sheriff's department to routinely visit facilities all throughout the city."

The effort comes as Colorado sees a new increase in COVID-19 cases.

"With a robust enforcement program, hopefully, we don’t have to go back and close everybody up, that wholesale approach like we had to take very early on," McDonald said. "So we are going to proactively check places and go after the bad actors and not everyone."

Here's a breakdown of the city enforcement for the weekend:

Friday

Contacts: 28 (26 mask-related)
Warnings: 28 (all mask-related)
Citations: 7

Saturday

Contacts: 44 (42 mask-related)
Warnings: 42 (all mask-related)
Citations: 8

Sunday

Contacts: 31 (20 mask-related)
Warnings: 28 (all mask-related)
Citations: 5

Those fined for violating the public health order are subject to a $999 fine per violation and up to 300 days in jail.