The Columbia/Boone County Public Health & Human Services Department is working to resolve complaints from residents about people and businesses that have allegedly violated orders regarding COVID-19.

The department has received a “gamut” of reports, spokesperson Lucio Bitoy said. They include complaints about businesses that residents believe should or should not be open, as well as reports of people being outside when they should not be.

Bitoy said he appreciates that residents are taking the stay-at-home order seriously. He did ask, however, that people call the city at 573-874-2489 (CITY) or email rather than contacting the health department to report what they believe to be non-compliant behavior or business practices.

The city has an essential business determination form that businesses can complete to determine whether their services are essential amid the social distancing and stay-at-home orders.

“We are currently compiling a list of essential businesses, so if a complaint comes in and it's an essential business, then we reach out to offer guidance and education on how they can be in compliance with social distancing guidelines,” Bitoy said.

If a complaint comes in about a business that is not on the list of essential businesses, the department lets the caller know that the business will be evaluated. The department will then contact that business to say that there are concerns about whether its services are essential and instruct its operators to fill out the essential business determination form.

The enforcement could involve fines, jail time or both.

For more COVID-19 related news, see our section dedicated to COVID-19 updates.
  • Public Health and Safety reporter, spring 2020 Studying magazine writing Reach me at, or in the newsroom at 882-5700.

  • I've been a reporter and editor at Missouri community newspapers for 35 years and joined the Columbia Missourian in 2003. My emphasis at the Missourian is on local government and elections. You can reach me at or at 573-884-5366.

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