EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The Vanderburgh County Health Department will soon have extra help with enforcing COVID-19 guidelines at local businesses.
County officials tell us the state will be sending people to help with inspections at businesses, including at bars and restaurants.
County Commissioner Jeff Hatfield tells us this isn’t about going out and trying to shut places down. It’s about compliance, and if we can get everyone on board, they won’t have to shut businesses down.
On Tuesday, local health officials will meet with various state departments, the fire marshall, state excise, and the Department of Homeland Security.
“The health department has gotten a number of complaints. We’ve had people that have taken pictures and videos and sent them in so we pretty much know what’s going on out there,” stated County Attorney David Jones.
But the health department doesn’t have the personnel to be able to get out and see all of it. On Tuesday, local health officials will meet with officials from various state departments about sending down extra personnel to help with enforcement.
“All of these things are designed to get enough institutions or entities in compliance so that any talk or decision about closing things would never be on anyone’s desk,” added County Commissioner Jeff Hatfield.
However, closures still remain a possibility if local businesses don’t shore up their compliance efforts after these visits.
“There have been some individual inspectors that have gone out, but in large numbers, no. So that is what we are looking for. And this won’t just be bars and restaurants and there are issues in other areas,” explained Jones.
Jones says these inspectors aren’t required by law to identify themselves when entering a business to observe and inspect. Commissioner Hatfield says it’s not about being secretive at all.
“It’s certainly not undercover or you wouldn’t announce it, right? And so that’s not what this is about,” stated Hatfield. “What this is about, is getting enough people to comply as possible to make a difference.”
As we first reported on Friday, the health department ordered two restaurants to temporarily close, accused of not complying with state guidelines.
While public records show all four Evanville’s Jimmy John’s locations shut down, health department officials clarified that only the Burkhardt Road location was closed.
All four locations did receive cease and desist letters.