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SLO County COVID-19 enforcement hotline has received nearly 2,200 reports of non-compliant businesses

Posted at 10:13 AM, Jul 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-29 13:13:26-04

A San Luis Obispo County enforcement hotline set up to help enforce the state's COVID-19 restrictions on businesses is receiving calls around the clock.

According to San Luis Obispo County Public Information Officer Michelle Shoresman, over 2,160 compliance calls have been made to the County as a whole since the line was opened.

Since the line became available in mid-March, more than 265 calls have come in reporting alleged non-compliance committed by businesses in the city of San Luis Obispo.

But after following up with these businesses, San Luis Obispo Interim Economic Development Dir. Lee Johnson said less than five of the calls resulted in a citation.

Johnson said that's because many of those calls are misguided, reports made by people who aren't quite up to date on the state's latest re-opening guidance.

And the businesses that are found out of compliance, typically change course once the city makes contact.

"The business owners have a business to run but also have a lot at stake if they don't do it properly and they really understand if they're not following the rules, people don't want to go there," Johnson said. "So they pretty quickly, once they understand that, early on they all pretty much got that and understand they have to do the right thing for the long haul. So we don't really end up in that place."

If a business does fail to comply, the owner may face a misdemeanor charge and fine up to $1,000.

Shoresman said businesses that are consistently reported to the hotline are kept on a list and monitored closely with phone calls, emails, and drive-by check-ups.

While the cities of San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles do issue citations, the County has yet to do so.

Johnson said the bulk of the calls made regard wearing masks and social distancing at businesses.

Calls made to the enforcement line regarding individual citizens are forwarded to the police department.