Fort Worth Stockyards

Fort Worth Code Compliance Officers Stress Education Over Fines in COVID-19 Enforcement

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Code compliance officers in Fort Worth are going from business to business to make sure owners are complying with new COVID-19 restrictions that reduce capacity at businesses from 75% to 50% and close bars.

In the Fort Worth Stockyards Friday, consumer health specialist Stephanie Neff passed out fliers to make sure businesses knew the new rules.

"Everybody has been pretty responsive. They kind of knew it was coming. Everybody has been watching the news. They were like, 'OK, it's in effect now.'"

The Stockyards was especially busy Friday with the National Finals Rodeo in town.

"Most of them all are in compliance,” Neff said. “Most of them are doing pretty well."

Realistically, most businesses have to make few changes because most were already operating at 50% capacity, she said.

Fort Worth Code Compliance and Health Director Brandon Bennett said the city issued fewer than 100 fines – but thousands of warnings – when the restrictions were in place earlier this year.

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"We've been fortunate that most of the time businesses will make a correction with a warning,” he said. “A few have signed compliance agreements with us."

He also stressed the importance of wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.

"If we follow the guidelines, we can still have an open economy and a safe open economy,” he said.

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