New Questions About COVID-19 Enforcement As Cases, Deaths Surge. City Spokeswoman Chrissy Gibson Refuses To Provide Information.
BY: ANDREW COLTON | EDITOR AND PUBLISHER
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BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — The City of Boca Raton’s Division of Code Enforcement is apparently not enforcing COVID-19 rules and restrictions at area businesses — and the City’s spokeswoman refuses to provide information about the perceived inaction.
BocaNewsNow.com reported several days ago that Biergarten was permitting customers to converge en masse without masks or social distancing. Even a bartender was seen with a mask around her neck but not on her face.
We asked City of Boca Raton Spokeswoman Chrissy Gibson what the City was doing to enforce COVID rules and restrictions still in effect. She gave us a non-answer. We then asked — on Wednesday — for a list of all citations issued by the City for COVID-19 violations at area businesses. She didn’t respond.
We asked again Friday and she forwarded our request to an outsourced company for processing.
The episode reveals what appears to be ongoing inaction by the City of Boca Raton which seems afraid to fine employers. Biergarten is owned by Arturo Gismondi, the owner of Cannoli Kitchen, La Nouvelle Maison, Luff’s Fish House, Trattoria Romana, and other local establishments — most in the City of Boca Raton. Gismondi did not respond to several requests for comment.
Why Gibson, who is responsible for communicating information from the City of Boca Raton, is not providing citation information is unclear, unless Boca officials have actually issued no citations since COVID began. That fact could be embarrassing as citizens die amidst surging infections and community spread. While Florida Governor Ron DeSantis prohibited individuals from being fined, businesses are required to follow rules and regulations. Municipalities are allowed to issue fines that could amount to thousands of dollars.
But what the City of Boca Raton is actually doing is unclear. We reported several months ago that code enforcement officials showed up days after Boca Raton Police had to clear an unsanctioned event. Multiple sources tell BocaNewsNow.com that the response is par for the course. Police respond in real time, but Code Enforcement — which has the authority to fine businesses — doesn’t show up for days, well after an event is over.
We copied Boca Raton Mayor Scott Singer on our latest communication with Chrissy Gibson. We’ll update if the Mayor chooses to discuss his city’s actions as citizens continue to get sick and die.
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