Health & Inspections Dept. Busy Enforcing Executive Orders
ST. CLOUD -- Making sure St. Cloud bars and restaurants and other businesses are complying with the Governor's executive orders is the job of the city's Health and Inspections Department.
Director Matt O'Brien says they have reached out to every bar, restaurant, convenience store and grocery store in town with phone calls and follow-up emails. He says they've taken nearly 50 calls from residents who believe an establishment is breaking the order, which they follow-up with a site-visit. O'Brien says if they have a second violation at a location they will have their license suspended and at this time they have not had to go to the same place twice.
He says there is a lot of confusion because establishments are still allowed to have customers inside their building.
It allows up to five members of the public inside the establishment at any one time, given they are six feet apart. Now that doesn't apply to grocery stores, obviously, everybody needs to go to the grocery store, but you can't have any on-site consumption.
O'Brien says getting a cup of coffee or a glass of pop at your local convenience store is still okay.
There was some guidance that went back and forth from the Department of Agriculture, they are the ones that set the rules for those types of establishments. At this point, they can offer that type of self serve off of a soda fountain or coffee.
O'Brien says going up to a counter and ordering food inside a restaurant is also still allowed, you just can't sit down and eat it there.
As for people just gathering, the group size of 10 or less is just a recommendation at this time from the CDC and MDH and not an enforceable rule. The city has been getting countless calls asking them to break up these groups.
O'Brien says the Health and Inspections Department will continue to have people in the field investigating businesses as long as the calls keep coming in.