Mecklenburg County health officials still working for compliance from bars, other businesses

Olde Meck Brewery setting up COVID-19 testing site

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris says coronavirus cases in the county are fairly stable, but they are still rising statewide.

She says that as businesses reopen, following protocols is more important than ever.

Charlottean Sinclair McLean says she could not believe the crowds at Olde Mecklenburg Brewery on Saturday, September 26th when she arrived for the Mecktoberfest event.

She quickly decided not to stay.

Her friend shot video from outside of the entrance showing crowds of people outside with many people not wearing masks.

“I honestly hadn’t seen that many people in one place in one time and so it kind of gave me anxiety," McLean said. "Everybody standing up appeared to be wearing a mask inside, outside I didn’t see any.”

Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris says two coronavirus cases have been linked to the event so far.

“There’s an assumption that I think is reasonable that there are more cases than just the two that we’re aware of and so we’re continuing to recommend that people get tested who attend that event," Harris said.

Last Friday, bars could reopen at 30 percent outdoor capacity, but Harris says compliance has been a struggle.

“Lack of face coverings, lack of social distancing, and not adhering to capacity numbers," she said.

But she acknowledges that some bars do have the correct protocols in place.

“It could happen at work, it could happen at a bar, a restaurant, it could happen in your family home and I don’t see a particular situation that’s causing an increase," she said.

According to CMPD, since they began enforcing the restrictions at locations serving alcohol, they have inspected 1,400 locations and handed out over 30 citations.

Since the beginning of August, Harris said 97 family gatherings, 24 weddings, 14 funerals and 23 religious events at places of worship have led to coronavirus cases.

McLean sees it as a wake up call.

“It’s things like this that definitely make you think twice because you know how fast it can spread in a group of people," she said.

The health department is offering covid-19 testing at Olde Mecklenburg Brewery on Saturday October 9th from 8am to 11am.

OMB did not respond to a request for an interview, but earlier this week an employee sent WBTV the following statement:

“OMB has always and will continue to work diligently to ensure that we comply with and adhere to all county, state and national health regulations and recommendations. It is also perhaps the easiest place in town to enjoy a beer or a meal with friends while social distancing. If you are not sure and would like to see what a safe and enjoyable place OMB is we encourage you to visit and see for yourself."

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