Three more Boone County businesses — The Vault, Black and Gold and China Garden — have been issued notices of violation relating to their COVID-19 safety practices.

According to the city of Columbia’s website, any fines given will be determined by the municipal court and will follow due process.

The Vault’s notice was filed Jan. 11, after a complaint inspection took place Jan. 8 that observed more patrons than were allowed in the establishment. Current health orders dictate that capacity is limited to 50% of fire occupancy or 100 people, whichever is less. It was also cited for improper social distancing and mask wearing. Additionally, the event taking place at The Vault did not have an approved operational plan.

Black and Gold was served its notice Jan. 9 for staying open past 10:30 p.m. despite being a business that sells alcohol.

At 2:45 p.m. last Thursday, patrons of China Garden were seen serving themselves at the buffet, which is also a violation of the health order.

Kala Wekenborg-Tomka, of the Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services, said that because these businesses have received notices of violation, as opposed to permit suspensions, they will remain operational. She also said any fines or other consequences will be handled by the city prosecutor, Robert Rinck.

Permit suspensions have been issued to other Columbia businesses such as Room 38 and Nash Vegas. These suspend businesses from functioning until they are able to submit a plan of operation and have it approved by the Health Department.

Because permit suspensions are handled by the Health Department exclusively, they are not applicable to establishments such as hair salons, tire shops or any other type of business that the department does not have immediate jurisdiction over, Wekenborg-Tomka said.

  • Sara Sammons is a Public Health reporter at the Columbia Missourian. She can be reached at sarasammons@umsystem.edu or in the newsroom at 573-882-5720.

  • Molly Hart is an assistant city editor at the Missourian. She has previously reported on state government. She can be reached at mhart@mail.missouri.edu.

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