89 restaurants in Vanderburgh Co. receive cease and desist letters for COVID-19 violations

89 restaurants in Vanderburgh Co. receive cease and desist letters for COVID-19 violations
Vanderburgh Co. Health Depart. sends ‘cease and desist’ letters to businesses

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Since May, 89 restaurants in Vanderburgh County have received cease and desist letters from the Vanderburgh County Health Department.

Officials say 21 of those also received fines of $250, most of which pertained to face-covering violations.

“If we’re seeing repeat violations of those guidelines, through returning and checking on that, or if we continue to receive complaints, then we try to go out and follow up,” said Joe Gries of the Vanderburgh County Health Department.

Two businesses had to temporarily close. Those include Jimmy John’s and Hornet’s Nest.

While public records from the Vanderburgh County Health Department show all four Evansville Jimmy John’s locations were shut down, department officials clarified Monday that only the Burkhardt Road location was closed.

All four locations did receive Cease and Desist orders.

“It may not be everybody on a staff. It may be one person. They may forget,” said Gries.

That’s what Jimmy John’s owner Ken Butler says contributed to his restaurants being closed for a short time.

“You know, I had a 19-year-old girl, had her mask on, just didn’t have it pulled up over her nose. There were no other customers in my location, no employees within six feet of her. I feel I wasn’t treated justly. I don’t think the punishment matched the crime,” said Butler. “But at the same time, I understand they are trying to enforce something that is so much bigger than them. It’s a tough situation for everybody.”

The health department says they’ll continue to keep an eye on local businesses.

“Again its not anybody maliciously ignoring these things. Both locations have been very good, very quick to get all of that training in place for their staff. And we do appreciate all of the hard work that they do put into it,” said Gries.

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