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322 complaints in Salt Lake County over COVID-19 guideline violations

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Posted at 3:44 PM, Nov 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-25 17:46:17-05

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake County Health Department said it has received 322 complaints in November from the public about businesses not complying with health orders related to COVID-19.

However, none have received any type of sanction. Most have been dealt with through a phone call or an in-person inspection, the agency said.

FOX 13 requested numbers for Utah's most populous county for November, to gauge how local health officials are handling the Utah Department of Health's orders setting COVID-19 restrictions, including a statewide mask mandate, extra sanitization and physical distancing requirements in businesses. Bars and restaurants are also required to cease serving alcohol at 10pm. Governor Gary Herbert has said local health departments would be tasked with enforcement of any violations.

Since Nov. 1, the Salt Lake County Health Department said it has fielded 322 complaints. Each one is investigated, said health department spokesman Nicholas Rupp. Some require only a phone call to ensure a business is aware of the COVID-19 guidelines. Others may get an in-person visit (similar to a restaurant inspection).

Only after that is unsuccessful does the health department escalate it to a written warning or an order to close the business until it can comply. To date, no case has been brought to the Salt Lake County District Attorney for any potential criminal charges.

Since September, Rupp said the Salt Lake County Health Department has only issued two orders of restriction. Both went to the nightclubs (and they closed for only a few days until they were in compliance with the public health orders).

The health department said it did issue written warnings in October to four bars to comply. Earlier this month, warnings were issued to three bars who came into compliance.