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COVID-19 confusion over where to pay fines

COVID-19 confusion over where to pay fines
Posted at 5:51 PM, Jan 15, 2021

AKRON, N.Y. (WKBW) — The Candy Apple Café in Akron is working to survive like many other restaurants in Western New York.

"It;s been really, really tough," Owner Cheryl Johannes said.

On Tuesday, owners say it got even tougher after they received a $300 fine for employees not wearing masks all the way. Now, owner Cheryl Johannes is unsure where she should send the check.

"I don't know who to pay, legally I have no idea," Johannes said.

The confusion for Johannes comes after Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajiliw told her she should pay the fine to his office, not the Department of Health as was directed on the official fine.

According to Mychajiliw, his office is supposed to receive COVID-19 fines after he changed the County charter, directing the Health Department to have fines sent to the Comptroller.

"We have been crystal clear with the health department since day one about what it is we're doing... and that we're the ones to deposit COVID fines," Comptroller Mychajiliw said.

It's supposed to allow these fined business to pay it back on a payment plan if they need to do so. The plan would be set up through the comptroller.

"So, from our perspective, we don't see any confusion at all."

The issue, the fines still say to pay the department of health. In a statement to 7 Eyewitness News, the DOH said, "Businesses should follow the payment directions included with the fine to remit the payment to ECDOH."

So, with two different voice, that's why Johannes says she's unsure what to do, hoping she doesn't make the wrong choice. Johannes' fine is due January 23rd and, as of now, she says she will look to pay it to the DOH as originally described.

"So, who do I pay?" Johannes asked, "I don't know what to do."