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Greensboro businesses that don't follow COVID-19 rules could be temporarily closed and fined under mayor's new order
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Greensboro businesses that don't follow COVID-19 rules could be temporarily closed and fined under mayor's new order

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GREENSBORO — Mayor Nancy Vaughan has issued an emergency order that reinforces Gov. Roy Cooper's recent order requiring the use of face masks and limiting occupancy of indoor gatherings. 

The move comes as COVID-19 cases are rapidly rising in Guilford County and around the state.

Vaughan's order directs local officials to enforce the regulations with fines and mandatory temporary shutdowns of businesses that are not in compliance, the city said Friday in a news release. 

The order goes into effect at 5 p.m. Friday and will remain in effect until further notice. It directs city employees, such as fire officials, to observe any violations and assess civil penalties where appropriate. 

In addition to reducing indoor gatherings from a maximum of 25 to 10 people, the governor's ongoing order places capacity limits on restaurants, bars, theaters and other venues. 

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Vaughan's order requires businesses to clearly mark capacity limits at all entrances and post signs requiring face coverings over mouth and nose for access to an office or business. It says all employees who interact with the public should wear face coverings and hand sanitizer must be provided. 

The penalties as laid out in the mayor's order can be severe for businesses. 

According to a city news release, "business owners found to have been functioning substantially in violation of these guidelines and orders shall be cited for such violations."

Businesses can be fined $100 for each person found on the premises or within the building that exceeds limits. 

A city official will issue a warning for the first violation.

A second violation would allow the city to order a business to be closed for 24 hours immediately. Penalties grow more severe for repeated violations, including closing a business for 72 hours after a fourth violation.

Contact Richard M. Barron at 336-373-7371 and follow @BarronBizNR on Twitter.

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