ERIE COUNTY (WKBW) — The Erie County Department of Health announced five businesses have been issued COVID-related violations and two additional businesses were issued close orders.
The five businesses that received the violations, due to social distancing and/or face mask use, were:
- Hoaks Restaurant, Hamburg
- Bimber’s Delwood Inc., Kenmore
- Pasquale’s, West Seneca
- South Shore Beach Club, Evans
- Just Pizza, Buffalo
In addition to the violations issued, The Cowboy in Buffalo and The Stage in Amherst were issued close orders. The Cowboy on July 11 and The Stage on July 14.
The Cowboy must submit a corrective action plan that is approved by the Division of Environmental Health before it can reopen.
As part of a corrective action plan, The Stage affirmed it would comply with NY Forward guidelines and will be allowed to reopen.
"When you're supposed to have 50 and you have 150-200 people in a closed area without masks, that's how you pass COVID-19 around," said County Executive Mark Poloncarz.
ECDOH says close orders issued by Erie County are reported to the NY State Liquor Authority.
More than 1,200 COVID-related complaints about food service facilities have been made to this date, according to ECDOH.
“The majority of restaurants and bars that we inspect demonstrate that they are taking COVID-related requirements seriously, in addition to other food safety and hygiene standards,” said Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein. “Generally, these operators and their employees take their role in protecting public health seriously and appreciate feedback from our public health sanitarian on site.”
ECDOH says when sanitarians have to return to an establishment a second or third time, that is when a violation or close order is issued.
“By the time our sanitarians have to return to a restaurant or bar for a second or third time, it is clear that the business is having difficulty taking the safety guidelines seriously,” said Dr. Burstein. “That is the point where we escalate to enforcement, issuing fines for violations and closure if needed.”
Health officials say they're seeing an uptick in COVID-19 tests and hospitalizations in the WNY region.
"We're seeing a very scary trend," said Health Commissioner Gale Burstein.
Erie County officials say more than half the people testng positive are between the ages of 20-29. There are 51 cases of COVID-19 in Erie County and 10 in the ICU.
Poloncarz says tracing is key in determining where these people are contracting COVID-19.