ROCKVILLE, Md. - Montgomery County officials say they have closed several businesses for not complying with COVID-19 restrictions.
Inspectors visited more than 1,900 businesses across the county over the holiday weekend and say two were closed down. The Cabana Hookah Lounge in Silver Spring was closed due to hookah bars not being included in phase two reopening guidance. The Palisades Lounge in Silver Spring was cited and closed for not maintaining appropriate physical distancing of customers and for a liquor violation, officials say.
Montgomery County originally told FOX 5 that the Vibes Hookah Lounge in Rockville had been closed, however, officials now say the establishment was cited $500 for its employees and/or customers not wearing face coverings. The owner of Vibes told FOX 5’s Bob Barnard that they were never shut down and did not violate any COVID-19 restrictions as the county had alleged.
Officials also report that an inspector will visit the Grille at Flower Hill in Gaithersburg on Thursday after complaints about employees not wearing masks.
"We are going to do what we need to do to ensure we stay safe. As part of that, we've opened up more of our businesses," said County Executive Marc Elrich in a statement. "We've had business ambassadors visit businesses to share reopening requirements, provide checklists and to answer questions and help as we can. The overwhelming majority of our businesses are open, following rules intended to keep everyone safe and enthusiastic about being able to serve their customers and clients once again. I will reiterate what I've said before and about which I have been very clear: Businesses will stay open provided they follow the public health guidelines. If they choose to ignore public health guidance, we will shut them down."
"As we receive complaints about businesses such as the Grille at Flower Hill in Gaithersburg for not following requirements for the wearing of face masks and keeping customers physically distanced, we will fully investigate each complaint," said County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles in a statement. "If we find that a business has been educated and continues to willfully ignore the requirements to safely reopen, we will use our legal authority to prohibit their operations until they comply."
The county says residents who have concerns about a business not following COVID-19 restrictions should email email@example.com or call 311.