Syracuse, N.Y. — Labb Beauty Bar faces a $1,000 fine from Syracuse city police after someone complained a worker was cutting hair without wearing a mask, according to city officials.
The fine marks the first time during the coronavirus pandemic that city police have issued a fine — rather than an explanation or a warning — to a business for failing to comply with restrictions and practices meant to stem the spread of the virus.
Police responded to the business at 111 Pond St. at about 6:26 p.m. Nov. 16 after receiving a complaint, according to the city’s chief policy officer, Greg Loh.
The business was found to be violating a New York state health regulation that requires workers to wear a mask or face covering when in direct contact with customers or the public. The business received the citation today, city officials said.
From March to October, Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said today, city police responded to about 800 complaints of businesses failing to comply with coronavirus restrictions and practices. During that time, he said, officers worked to educate the businesses about the rules.
“By and large, that worked really well for us,” the mayor said.
But since parts of Onondaga County entered yellow zone status in November because of rising caseloads, that strategy changed, the mayor said. Now, Syracuse police will enforce the business and gathering restrictions with citations and fines, if warranted.
Since early November, police have responded to 17 complaints, he said. Sixteen were unfounded, he said today during a monthly briefing.
Going forward, Walsh said, the city will release the names of businesses cited for coronavirus violations each Tuesday.
Here are other announcements Walsh and other city leaders made today:
Covid-19 cases in Syracuse
On Sept. 3, the city had 50 active coronavirus cases, Walsh said.
By Dec. 3, there were 668 active cases inside the city — a 13-fold increase. “It is jarring,” Walsh said.
Surveillance testing of essential city workers starts next week
Syracuse city workers deemed essential will start surveillance testing for the coronavirus next week, Walsh said. That workforce includes people in the city’s water, sanitation, sewer, snow and ice removal, and public safety sectors.
Coronavirus among city police and firefighters
Police chief Kenton Buckner said 20 or so officers have tested positive for the virus since March.
“So far, we have not been able to definitively say that any of the positives were work-related,” he said.
“Countless others,” he said, have gone into quarantine after being exposed. “We continue to do everything we can to mitigate that,” he said.
Fire Chief Michael Monds said that 12 firefighters have contracted the coronavirus since March, including three that were hospitalized. Those three are no longer hospitalized, he said. Overall, about 100 firefighters have been exposed to virus, he said.
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