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El Paso leaders warn ‘bad actor’ bars not complying with Covid rules will be ‘shut down’

Craft Beer Pour
Lakana file
A craft beer is poured by a bartender.

EL PASO, Texas -- A handful of "bad actors" are continuing to play by their own rules when it comes to stopping the spread of Covid-19, El Paso city leaders indicated.

It is an issue that Police Commander Humberto Talamantes and Environmental Services Director Ellen Smyth spoke to the City Council about on Monday.

They said the city's Covid-19 mitigation task force is combining its own extensive database with that of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to keep a more efficient eye on ordinance violations and the people responsible for them.

“We are seeing a lot of people push the envelope, having more folks come inside and not taking the correct requirements," Talamantes said.

He added that those businesses, especially the bars, should know better by now and that moving forward, the mitigation task force will not hesitate to "shut them down."

District 7 city Rep. Henry Rivera said he had previously been concerned about comments from some constituents that such complaints were not being handled in a timely fashion, but is now satisfied that non-compliant businesses actually are a top priority from the city’s task force.

According to a presentation at the council meeting, the task force has issued 12 citations since Aug. 6, along with 1,802 complaints addressed and 360 warnings issued.

Overall, the team has logged nearly 50,000 hours enforcing the ordinance and responding to complaints.

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Michael Gordon

Michael Gordon is a former ABC-7 reporter who co-anchored Good Morning El Paso weekends.


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