22 Tuscaloosa businesses get warning in COVID-19 safety inspection

Warning about following safety guidelines in Tuscaloosa

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WBRC) - Customers walking through the front door of Cravings are a welcome sight to Dan Robinson.

“It’s been nice to have people around,” Robinson said.

He owns the downtown Tuscaloosa market which also serves food and sells beer. Robinson put up signs to alert customers they couldn’t sit at some tables and that only 20 people could be inside his business now.

“I’ve heard some bars are overloading, maybe some of the restaurants. I assume they will go around,” he continued.

The “they” are Tuscaloosa City authorities. This week, Tuscaloosa police and fire fighters visited bars and restaurants in downtown and on the Strip. 22 businesses were given warnings for violating social distancing rules and or employees not having their mouth and nose covered. Officials explained why they were warned and not ticketed.

“There were several questions about the 50%. 50% only applies to retail. It does not apply to restaurants and bars. They are held to 6 feet of social distancing,” Tuscaloosa Fire rescue Chief Randy Smith explained.

“If you have people lining up to get into your business that still applies to six feet rule for your business. So you also have to regulate the spacing for those lining up to get inside,” said Sgt. Lachlan Chronister with Tuscaloosa Police.

Robinson felt torn when asked him how he felt about the city keeping such a close eye on businesses now. “That’s a tough one. I don’t know if they can win one way or the other. I know they’re trying to keep everyone safe."

Chief Smith would not say which specific businesses were given warnings. But he did say warnings would not be given indefinitely. Tickets would be issued in the future. They’re misdemeanors and can result in fines up to $500.

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