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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

Shelby County leaders set for final vote on COVID-19 violation civil fine for businesses

Shelby County businesses and party organizers could pay the cost for patrons disregard of COVID-19 restrictions.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Top of mind among Shelby County Commissioners Wednesday night was heading off any more super spreader events before the holidays.

That might include $50 fines for businesses who don't follow COVID-19 restrictions.

Even if you don't wear a mask it's the business owner who could pay the price.

Immediately after the club In Love Memphis super spreader party over Thanksgiving Shelby County leaders went into overdrive trying to figure out how it happened, what should have happened and how to keep it from happening with Christmas approaching.

An unauthorized, potential health risk of a party during the Coronavirus surge with maskless people, dancing close together in a tent.

The likely solution?

Imposing a $50 civil fine on businesses for each violation, for each person 

If the situation proves a public danger the business or party, especially parties, could be shut down and fined.

"Fines will solely be for individuals who are in these businesses who are not masked and the businesses and the business are just allowing these people to be in those businesses without masks on," said Commissioner Van Turner.

To be clear the fine is for businesses that blatantly ignore the rules.

Shelby County Health Director, Alisa Haushalter says for businesses working to comply with restrictions currently in place this is like "no shoes, no service," but she and commissioners agree there needs to be oversight and repercussions for ignoring the law. 

"It also offers an opportunity if it is an eminent threat to the public health. Particularly, large events where there is knowingly intent to avoid a compliance."

The final ordinance will be approved or rejected all together next week, while Commissioners work at being intentional about how the new law reads and that there are no gray areas.