Are Wake County businesses following COVID-19 safety compliance?

Posted December 3, 2020 11:21 p.m. EST
Updated December 4, 2020 4:56 p.m. EST

— It's a question many locals ask themselves whenever they enter a local business: Am I safe?

So far, only two businesses have been cited in Raleigh for violations of state coronavirus pandemic regulations.

The Rose Bar, on Millbrook Road in Raleigh, was hit with a citation early Monday, when Raleigh police responded to a shooting there and discovered the bar was breaking rules for occupancy.

The owners were cited with a misdemeanor charge of violating Gov. Roy Cooper's executive order.

Tyhrone Leak, 26, was charged with shooting into an occupied property, carrying a concealed firearm and discharging a weapon within the city, while Bradlee Armstrong, 34 was charged with assault with a deadly weapon and discharging a firearm to incite fear in the Rose Bar shooting.

Just 2 miles away, two more citations were handed out at Jonathan’s Sports Bar.

The reason was the same: Too large of a crowd.

Raleigh police haven't said how many people were inside either location, but the state’s current guidance limits bars to outdoor seating and restaurants to 50 percent of capacity.

Rose Bar was closed Thursday, and the owners of Jonathan's Sports Bar couldn't be reached for comment.

With only a few businesses cited with breaking the rules, Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman said, "In Wake County, we have been very lucky. We have seen overwhelming compliance."

Some locals believe restaurants and bars have been unfairly picked on, believing the hospitality industry has been held to higher expectations for abiding by COVID-related rules.

With just two citations on record in Raleigh, Freeman says this may point to a brighter sign that business owners are taking the pandemic seriously.

The businesses cited face a fine, but it’s highly unlikely the owners will face any jail time, according to Freeman.

However, repeat offenders could feel the wrath of the health department, which could force some businesses to close.

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