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How coronavirus-related complaints are monitored at New York bars

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Published: Jul. 20, 2020 at 1:58 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 20, 2020 at 4:57 PM EDT
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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - Gov. Andrew Cuomo says that if New York catches a second wave of COVID-19, it likely would stem from activity at bars and restaurants. Our Kelly O’Brien looks into how counties are checking compliance with state COVID guidelines.

The governor says while this is a bigger problem downstate in places like New York City, it is an issue that he's hearing about statewide. That's why he's calling on local governments to enforce coronavirus guidelines at bars and restaurants, so I reached out to the Clinton County Health Department to see what that process looks like.

"Bars and restaurants are the problem and it doesn't need to be," said Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D-New York.

Cuomo is calling on local government to do its job in enforcing COVID-19 guidelines for bars and restaurants after images surfaced online of hundreds of people gathering at bars in New York City. He says its an issue that needs to be addressed statewide.

"We will have to roll back the bar and restaurants reopening," Cuomo said.

Ryan Davies with the Clinton County Health Department covers all complaints in the county regarding bars or restaurants. He says he uses complaints as a way to better educate the establishments on what the rules are.

"We don't necessarily issue fines on everything," Davies said. "Our main goal is to provide education to get corrective action and if it's a repeat offender, over and over again, we may pursue enforcement action which there could be a fine."

Davies says complaints are made either to the health department directly or thought New York State PAUSE. After getting a complaint, Davies says he will call the place with the complaint against them or go do an onsite investigation.

Davies says since March, the health department has only issued two or three violations for not being COVID compliant. He says there are more than 300 registered restaurants in the county.

"A COVID complaint, I want to say is like 99% of the time a mask-related one," Davies said.

Davies says while he hasn't had to call the state liquor authority yet, that call would have to come if an establishment was continuously getting complaints and not making changes to address them.

"We have noticed that a majority of people in the county are compliant, which is good to see," he said.

The health department asks when you’re filling your COVID compliance complaints that you be as detailed as possible. They says it makes the investigation go a lot smoother when they have more information to work with.

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