FOX 8 viewers have sent us an avalanche of e-mails about businesses still open despite the Governor’s stay-at-home order, so the I-Team investigated.
In some ways, you’d never know we’re under a stay-at-home order except for essential business.
We found some highways with traffic looking close to what you’d normally see.
And on Chagrin Boulevard, we even found a car wash open. A car wash with a sign saying “virus hours,” a reference to the national health crisis with the coronavirus.
We went to see owner Steve Haynosch to ask him about staying open. He said,
“It was a tough, tough decision.”
He argues a car wash fits in the category for car care and maintenance, so he believes his business, too, can be considered essential.
Haynosch says he washes cars for police, and he takes steps to keep people safe.
He said, “There’s no interaction. We can’t contaminate them and they can’t contaminate us.
We’re not accepting cash. Once you’re done with your transaction, we go around and clean the express pay terminals.”
We also saw a construction crew working on a driveway. And we saw another crew fixing up a fast food joint.
Plus, a spot check revealed parking lots filled outside factories.
In Erie County, citizens have complained about businesses, calling 911.
One said, “There’s a big car sale going on. There’s like 30-40 people in there.”
Another said, “It’s a factory. They’re not going by the lockdown.”
The Summit County and Cuyahoga County health departments both say they’ve had dozens and dozens of e-mails and calls about this.
Tonia Burford with the Summit County Health Department said, “Well over 100 complaints about businesses with questions: ‘Are they essential or not?’” She added, “We’ll go out. Do an inspection. I just feel most businesses want to do the right thing. We all need to come together to make sure we have safe workspaces.”
But officials are quick to say no one should be calling 911 about businesses that are open. Local health departments will investigate.
So what happens if business owners ignore the order keeping people off the streets? They could end up in court.
For instance, Cleveland police would talk to a city prosecutor. The Summit County Health Department might ask a judge to order the business shut down.
Back at the car wash, the owner just wants to try continuing to operate even during the health crisis. He said, “Is it gonna be worth it for the community, or for us? We have no idea.”
Local health departments say, so far, they’ve found whenever they’ve contacted businesses that should not be open, those businesses have quickly closed.