A Longmont candle shop that county officials said defied compliance with coronavirus public health orders has removed a sign that said wearing masks was against their “spiritual beliefs.”
Magic Fairy Shop, 634 Main St., replaced the sign with another one reading: “Please find us online,” said Chana Goussetis, spokesperson for Boulder County Public Health, on Wednesday.
The store is usually open Wednesday to Sunday, according to hours listed on its Facebook page. Boulder County Public Health officials visited the shop Wednesday to see whether public health orders were being followed. The county filed a complaint last week in the Boulder District Court, asking that the shop comply with public health mandates to wear a face covering in indoor spaces.
Goussetis said officials found the store closed Wednesday, which she said would “constitute as compliance.”
The shop is among the latest to be found in violation of public health orders.
While Boulder County reports that most residents and businesses have been in compliance, some continue to defy precautions, creating a slow and resource-intensive enforcement process for county public health officials.
Jeff Zayach, Boulder County Public Health executive director, emphasized in a county news release Wednesday that the goal is to “help individuals and businesses follow the public health orders to stop this virus,” and “not to impose fines or take people to court.”
“It’s a slow and intensive process that is stretching our resources,” Zayach said in the release.
The number of public health violations the county has investigated since the first positive coronavirus case was reported in Boulder County on March 14 was not immediately available.
According to the Boulder County complaint against Magic Fairy Candles, witnesses reported the sign and described seeing employees and customers without masks.
Goussetis said the county’s goal is to “reach an agreement with the store owner” to follow health orders.
“If we can’t, the next step in the process is a preliminary injunction,” Goussetis said. “No court hearings have been set at this point.”
Magic Fairy Candles again declined to comment when contacted by phone Wednesday. The store did confirm last week that the sign posted reflected the beliefs of Magic Fairy Candles, which does not own the space.
Additional public health order violations were also reported at five Boulder fraternities, since the start of the semester last week. Nearly $11,000 in fines has been issued to the fraternities by the Undergraduate Interfraternity Council after the reported violations.
The University of Colorado Boulder said that it would work with the Boulder Police Department to identify off-campus parties at student houses, saying that at least 12 student residences had been contacted by police for partying during the past two weekends.
Boulder is using its nuisance property abatement process to take targeted action at landlords and property owners for violations of public health orders at their properties, which can result in revocation of their rental license and eviction, according to the release. CU Boulder has updated its student code of conduct to prohibit violations of public health orders, the release said.
Civil enforcement of a public health violation includes issuing notices of violation, the release said. If the violations continue, the next step is filing a lawsuit in court requesting that a judge issue a restraining order prohibiting the individual from violating public health orders. The individual can be held in contempt of court for violating the restraining order, and fines and other sanctions can be imposed if violations continue, according to the release.
State laws allow Public Health to bring civil or criminal fines or charges when a public health order is violated, according to the release. Willful violation of a public health order is a Class 1 misdemeanor, and the district attorney and law enforcement use their discretion and judgment about when and how to pursue criminal penalties, the release said. Public Health can bring a civil action against a person or business, requesting the court order the business or individual to comply, according to the release.
Boulder County Public Health reported Wednesday that 2,344 Boulder County residents had tested positive or probable for the virus. Of those, 196 residents have been hospitalized, and 79 residents have died because of complications with the disease.
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