County health department, sheriff’s office offering business owners guidance on reopening

Coronavirus

Mahoning County Public Health has been helping business owners, making sure they're following the new rules

BOARDMAN, Ohio (WKBN) – In addition to keeping track of COVID-19 cases around the area, staff members with Mahoning County Public Health have been working with businesses that are slowly starting to reopen.

During this time, health officials say some of their more frequent complaints are generated by scenes like this:

“Somebody pulls in and they see the parking lot and it’s very packed. So they go ahead and they place that complaint but we do follow up on all the complaints,” said Mahoning County Health Commissioner Ryan Tekac.

Unlike the images of crowds we saw over the weekend in Columbus, Tekac says his staff did not receive any complaints concerning local outdoor bars and restaurants. But with indoor dining expected to begin later this week, owners are calling, looking for guidance.

“They’re asking to put in barriers in between booths. They’re just asking what can the barrier be made out of, how high does it have to be,” Tekac said.

The sheriff’s office is starting its own resource program this week for bar and restaurant owners wanting information about the new state guidelines. Their number is 330-770-0473. The line should not be used to report incidents, but for guidance.

In the meantime, Tekac says his staff has been hearing from a variety of businesses wanting to be sure they’re in compliance.

“We’ve been working as they continue to open up different sectors. We’ve received a number of phone calls, whether it’s from pool operators, from local baseball leagues,” Tekac said.

As for those not following the state’s guidelines, Tekac says staff will work with business owners but will turn to law enforcement and prosecutors if problems continue.

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