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Restaurant owner understands need for stricter health order enforcement

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Pizza Brutta

MADISON(WKOW) -- Since the start of the pandemic, Public Health Madison Dane County has received more than 2,4000 complaints about businesses not following public health orders.

In response, PHMDC would typically just issue a warning.

But they say that changes now.

A PHMDC spokesperson said that while the number of complaints haven't dramatically increased, they've seen pictures of bars and restaurants packed with people.

Because of what public health called "very concerning behavior" they will now be working with police departments to enforce up to $1000 fine per violation.

At Pizza Brutta, owner Derek Lee says they've never gotten a warning or complaint and it's a shame it's gotten to this point, because bars and restaurants are already hurting financially.

"That said if people aren't following the rules and they feel the educational angle isn't working then I guess threatening enforcement is the only tool in the tool box left," he said.

Lee doesn't think restaurants should have to shoulder the brunt of the blame when human behavior, and more recently, student activity on UW-Madison's campus, has contributed to a spike in cases.

The Madison Area Chamber of Commerce, says if PHMDC will be increasing enforcement "against the very few businesses that are not following the rules, Public Health Madison & Dane County should be granting relief to those that are."

In a statement to 27 News they support "decisions and guidance that is clear, data-driven and devoid of politics," but that they should prioritize education over punishment

Seeing the spike in cases recently, Lee says we've lost sight of why the orders were enacted in the first place and hopes people take politics out of the equation.

Being a pizza place he said the Italian Prime Minister said it best.

"The Prime Minister said they were going to lock down the country for love and I think that we really need to get back to that," Lee said. "I think that's the spirit of all these rules and the lockdowns and all the precautions that we have in place, it's for the love for each other."

Francisco Almenara

Reporter, WKOW

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