Nearly 1,100 business complaints over not complying with coronavirus orders called into Cuyahoga County

Nearly 1,100 business complaints over not complying with coronavirus orders called into Cuyahoga Co.

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - 19 Investigates uncovered nearly 1,100 complaints called in on local businesses in Cuyahoga County.

The calls started around the time Gov. Mike DeWine issued a stay-at-home order in mid-March, and all non-essential businesses were ordered to close.

We found 1,088 complaints have been called into the Cuyahoga County Board of Health from March 18 to May 5 through a public records request.

Some businesses were operating against the governor's orders as late as last week.

The complaints cover non-essential businesses still opening their doors-- from salons, to gyms and smoke shops, even chain stores.

Other complaints were often called in anonymously by employees, for no social distancing, no sanitization or no cleaning wipes available inside the businesses.

Summary of the business complaints

19 Investigates went through the complaint log line by line. Here’s what we found:

-162 complaints were "justified" by the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, just under 15 percent of the complaints.

-64 complaints on the log were left blank or undecided.

-Six complaints are labeled "unable to determine" and four complaints are labeled "to be determined."

-All of the rest of the complaints were "not substantiated."

-No businesses have been fined by the county.

Examples of justified complaints

There were 162 justified complaints in the county.

The Cuyahoga County Board of Health had to get a temporary restraining order against one business, Seconds City Consignment in Parma Heights.

They closed and will be eligible to re-open May 12, the board of health said.

These are some of the most recent complaints we found:

-Two stores deemed "non-essential" in Olmsted Falls were still open as of May 1: a gift shop and a consignment store.

-A smoke shop in North Olmsted was also still open as of May 1.

-A fast food chain restaurant in Lakewood, a caller reported drive-thru employees were not social distancing on April 28.

The board of health says all of the justified complaints have been resolved.

Complaint checks

25 field sanitarians are on the ground checking out complaints called in by citizens and employees.

They usually deal with food, water and lead inspections.

A spokesperson told 19 News many complaints were resolved over the phone in the beginning because some businesses were confused or unaware of the orders.

19 Investigates named Seconds City Consignment but not the other businesses in our story because no action was taken against them.

The board of health presumes compliance once they talk to these businesses unless they get more complaints.

We'll be watching the calls coming in as more businesses begin to reopen next week.

You can call the Cuyahoga County Board of Health Call Center at 216-201-2000 between 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. to register a complaint.

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