DBPR works to ensure compliance with phase two guidelines locally

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BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WMBB) — As COVID-19 cases continue to surge state-wide, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation is cracking down on businesses, making sure that bars and restaurants are following the state-mandated phase two guidelines.

Across the area, many residents and visitors are saying the same thing.

“I have observed a lot of people going out to eat at restaurants,” said Tammy Brooks, a visitor from Georgia, who says she and her husband have preferred to stay in. “We’re staying over at the campground, so we just kind of eat in and do our thing over there because we don’t really want to get around a whole lot of people.”

“It’s busy, really busy,” said another visitor from Georgia. “Feels like normal.”

Although lunch hour on a weekday doesn’t look too crowded, at other times it’s a different story. Some restaurants are reporting the busiest summer they’ve had in years.

The DBPR has been sending agents out both on routine inspections and undercover to establishments across the state to ensure that they are following state-mandated safety guidelines. They said that the agents are working seven days a week, from 5p.m. to 1a.m..

According to the DBPR, since March there have been 40 complaints against Bay County businesses. They said that all 40 have been inspected and through investigation, none have been found to be in noncompliance, even after follow-ups. 

However, visitors said that some restaurants seem to be following the capacity and spacing rules more than others.

“That’s where the scary part of it is,” said Franklin Brown, another visitor. “If one’s doing something and then one’s trying to do the right thing, then you’re never going to be able to… you know all this thing is an effort with everybody.”

If a business were to be in violation of the guidelines, they’d get a warning and before a follow-up inspection. If nothing changes, their license could be suspended. 

So far, however, the DBPR reports that Bay County is one of the least problematic in the state in terms of complaints and violations.

Residents who are concerned that a business is not following the state-mandated guidelines can report their complaints by clicking here.

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