UPDATE: Johnson County Commissioners vote 4-3 to pass the noncompliance order. They are removing the word “individuals” from the order to focus on business.
JOHNSON COUNTY, KS (KCTV) -- Johnson County businesses who violate the new coronavirus order commissioners passed Monday could be facing fines if they don’t comply.
The board of commissioners meets Thursday morning to vote on how they will enforce the updated order, which limits capacity and sets closing time at midnight.
“There does need to be a factor involved that if compliance is not there, then there has to be a penalty,” said Johnson County Board of Commissioners Chairman Ed Eilert.
There have been a lot of four to three votes when it comes to COVID-19 guidelines in Johnson County. Chairman Eilert said we should expect another one Thursday.
“Our emphasis will be on education. Education, education, education,” said Eilert. “And, encouraging and demonstrating to the business owner how they can comply with the order.”
If passed, business owners could face up to a $500 fine. It would only come into play however as a last resort, according to Chairman Ed Eilert.
Some restaurant owners say the fine shouldn’t be on the table, especially when theirs are empty.
“Businesses are already completely handcuffed in almost every aspect,” said Vader’s owner Willie Vader. “To put more burden and more pressure on us, especially the small ones is incomprehensible right now.”
Vader and Coach’s Bar and Grill owner Brian Darby said if someone refuses to wear a mask inside their restaurant they shouldn’t be fined.
“Everybody agrees that minors should not be served alcohol and I should be fined if I serve a minor. That’s not a debate. But, this mask issue, right or wrong, is so polarizing and so political,” said Darby. “People are going to make statements and it’s going to put me and my staff in the middle of it.”
“Alienating more people will shut my doors pretty quickly,” said Vader.
Eilert said individuals not complying with the state mask mandate cited or fined and at discretion of the District Attorney’s office, not at the county level.
The County Commissioner’s meet Thursday morning at 9:30 to discuss the enforcement order.