What happens when you report a business for not complying with COVID guidelines?


KYLE, Texas (KXAN) — Social distancing, capacity limits, no loitering at bars or in high-traffic areas.

There are still safety guidelines to follow for businesses allowed to reopen under Governor Greg Abbott’s latest orders.

Over the past month, some municipalities say they’ve been getting complaints from citizens about others not following those rules.

“Up to 10 a week on a busy week, sometimes it’s two or three a week,” says Kyle Police Chief Jeff Barnett.

Barnett says the complaints aren’t concentrated to one area and range from people not spacing far enough apart inside establishments, to gathering in homes.

“Maybe someone is having what appears to be a big party at their house and there’s 15 or 20 people, so surely they’re not part of the same household,” Barnett explains.

Barnett says officers will be dispatched to violation locations and, in many cases, have the authority to issue jail time or a fine.

However, he says that hasn’t been needed, yet.

“In those incidents where we have responded and observed the violation, soon as we give that educational information to the person that’s violating, they immediately comply and apologize and they fix the problem right away so we have not had to take anymore additional enforcement other than just awareness,” Barnett says.

Local business owner Greg Devonshire says he’s been approaching reopening with caution, for that reason; intentionally moving slow when it comes to moving from curbside and carryout to in-person dining.

“We don’t have the tables inside, we have limited tables outside. We set that up to prevent any kind of mass gatherings,” says Devonshire, who owns Milt’s Pit BBQ in downtown Kyle.

As more businesses get ready to reopen on Friday including bars, bowling alleys and skating rinks, Barnett expects more calls.

He also urges people to maintain safety compliance this Memorial Day weekend.

“I’m well aware that people’s behavior may change because they’re simply getting numb from all the information,” Barnett says. “So, I encourage people to just do everything we can to keep their families safe and to be respectful of others and we’ll get through this, there’s no doubt.”

For his part, Devonshire says he’s closing on Monday to keep the crowds away entirely.

“I don’t want to feel like I am liable for anything that may spread, so it’s a touchy situation as a business owner,” Devonshire says.

The City of San Marcos says they have received seven complaints related to social distancing, but none related to occupancy concerns.

A spokesperson for Buda says they have not received any complaints related to COVID-guidelines, so far.

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