COVID-19 compliance complaints reach over 1,000 during holiday weekend

Updated: Jul. 6, 2020 at 10:25 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - New Orleans received more than a thousand calls over the holiday weekend about people not following COVID-19 guidelines.

However, a spokesperson says the July Fourth holiday did not bring an increase in complaints.

Visitors from Atlanta, New York and Lafayette came to New Orleans over the holiday weekend.

"I came for my birthday. I've always wanted to come to New Orleans, about like three years now I wanted to come to New Orleans and I finally came down here and I love it," a visitor from Atlanta said.

On Friday, Bourbon Street looked the busiest it has been in months.

"Being that the coronavirus is going on, you can't go into too many bars, and that's weird to me. I'm not used to not being able to go into a bar, or it closing early," Tiffany Lee said.

Orleans Parish Communications District Executive Director Tyrell Morris says they received over 1,500 complaints over the three day weekend.

"Some individuals reporting businesses that were non-compliant with the mayor's order. We received over 160 of those complaints that are being handled by the office of code enforcement and some other state agencies that are assisting us during this time," Morris said.

He said they also received over 90 complaints for large gatherings.

"The last two weekends for large gatherings, we saw almost the exact same number over the three day weekend, 90. We did have a major reduction as we began to enter Phase 2," Morris said.

In Jefferson Parish, President Cynthia Lee Sheng said they received a total of 1,880 complaints since they launched their COVID Compliance Hotline on June 26.

"We're enforcing this with the parish, with my own staff, and I'm putting about 15 inspectors on this issue. So what we're going to look at is the egregious complaints that we're getting," Lee Sheng said.

She said the inspectors visited about a dozen businesses that received numerous complaints.

As Jefferson Parish reached over 10,000 COVID-19 cases Monday, Lee Sheng said she hopes the mask initiative will drive numbers back down.

"I hate hearing that number and I hate the fact that we've reached that number, but we're certainly one of the most populous parishes in the state, we're very aggressive on testing. our testing number's also very very high as well, but that's a tough number for us to have to look at on the dashboard," Lee Sheng said.

A Jefferson Parish spokesperson says no businesses have received a fine yet.

Lee Sheng says no one answers the compliance hotline, people can either leave a recorded message or fill out a complaint online.

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