5 Madison County restaurants re-open after coronavirus violations cause temporary closures
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WAAY 31 is committed to your safety. Monday, while working on a story about what Huntsville is doing to keep you safe at restaurants, we learned the health department suspended food permits for five restaurants in Madison County.

They’re all connected to breaking coronavirus regulations.

The health department temporarily revoked permits for two Sonic Drive Ins. The locations on Sparkman Drive and another on Highway 72 East allowed on-premise food consumption when it wasn’t allowed. Payless Brothers' license was suspended for not having any water. Boarhog's Barbecue and Tailgaters, both in Huntsville, were also caught with customers consuming food on premise.

The Health Department said each restaurant's license was quickly reinstated after they fixed the violations.

Monday, Huntsville Mayor Tommy Battle said the city is also monitoring restaurants, but isn't actively checking for violations.

"We monitor those places to make sure that they can work safely. 99.9% of the businesses are there because they want to protect their employees. They want to protect their customers and if they are able to do that and safely then we have done what we are supposed to do," he said.

The Alabama Department of Public Health's Environmental Health Division investigates possible violations. It said an inspector responds to any valid complaint. The complaint is sent through the chain of command and to the legal department which decided the necessary action for the violation.

Businesses, like the five in Madison County caught violating the health order, can have their food permits suspended. If your permit is suspended you can not operate until you're back in compliance, explain how the situation was corrected in writing and received a follow-up visit from the health department.

The city is not involved in that process and complaints brought to it's attention go through the city's legal department.

Battle said any business found in violation faces a $500 fine.

The mayor has this suggestion for anyone who feels unsafe or thinks a restaurant is violating the health order: "If you go into a place where you don't feel comfortable with you, you don't think they are taking it very seriously, you don't think they're watching out for your health get up and leave."

Both the health department and cty of Huntsville said they're both investigating a possible violation at a restaurant in Madison County that has employees possibly not wearing face masks. Neither agency said what business and it's unclear if it's the same business.

WAAY 31 is working to learn more about the investigation.

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