TJHD fielded 1,927 mask compliance, COVID-related complaints in past few months

TJHD fielded 1,927 mask compliance, COVID-related complaints in past few months
Complaints about mask compliance and social distancing around the Charlottesville area are rolling in.

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Complaints about mask compliance and social distancing around the Charlottesville area are rolling in. The Thomas Jefferson Health District (TJHD) says it’s received nearly 2,000 of them over the past few months since the health department started fielding them.

“I would say the majority relates to face coverings," TJHD Environmental Health Supervisor Eric Myers said. "Next is social distancing, and then next after that would be the capacity that some people feel is too much.”

If a business gets one or two complaints, TJHD makes a call to ask them what’s going on.

“We know some complaints can be unfounded,” Myers admitted.

If TJHD receives up to five or six complaints, then their staff will make an unannounced site visit to see how accurate some of the complaints are.

“Fortunately in our district, we have not had to use the extra authority that our health director has been granted related to a permit suspension,” Myers said.

Myers says the health district is impressed with how well businesses have adapted.

“We have worked proactively with the ABC agents, patrons related to the UVA Corner, and also the owners of restaurants down there," he said. "We did an educational outreach in August, prior to students coming back and then we just did one last week.”

Myers says that work continues to show results. “We were two months ago receiving 50 to 60 complaints per day across the district,” he said.

Now it’s down to about 10 per day.

“I want to thank the restaurant community in Charlottesville and across the district really with how well they have worked to comply with some very difficult times for the business,” Myers said.

The biggest chunk of complaints, about 43%, are aimed at grocery and convenience stores.

"About 19% are falling out with restaurants, 20-23% with just brick and mortar type businesses, wineries and breweries are at about 2%,” Myers said.

If you want to submit a complaint to the Thomas Jefferson Health District, click here or call the Virginia Department of Health hotline at 1-877-ASK-VDH3. TJHD will receive all complaints in a condensed report weekly.

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