Three businesses cited for violating health order

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COLUMBIA — Three local businesses have been issued "notices of violation" for allegedly violating the county's social distancing ordinance

Willie's Pub, the Country Club of Missouri and Truman's Bar and Grill have each been issued notices of violations.

The notices come after public complaints.

Health department inspectors followed with inspections to confirm the complaints, said Scott Clardy, assistant director of the Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services. 

Willie's Pub violated the ordinance when a photograph confirmed a "large crowd inside of (the business) with no social distancing measures taking place between individuals," according to the notice of violation. The pub also operated a "standing counter", which is prohibited by the social distancing ordinance.

The Country Club of Missouri faces violations for  operating "standing counter or buffet service" and failing to ensure social distancing, according to the notice of violation. 

At Truman's Bar and Grill, a photograph submitted as part of a complaint shows people sitting at the bar and tables without any social distancing, according to the notice of violation. 

These notices of violation are then forwarded to the city prosecutor, Clardy said.

The prosecutor can then look at the facts and determine whether to press charges. 

So far, the city prosecutor has filed official charges against Willie's Pub and the Country Club. Both face hearings Aug. 26, according to municipal court documents. 

Attorney Matthew Woods, of Eng & Woods law firm, previously represented a group of local businesses opposed to county health ordinances during the pandemic. He said that the businesses charged have a right to a trial. 

Fines, if any, are determined by the municipal court.