Longmont candle store removes sign on masks

A Longmont candle store that county officials say defied compliance with public health coronavirus orders has removed a sign that wearing masks was against their “spiritual beliefs.”

Magic Fairy Shop, 634 Main St., replaced the sign with one that read: “Please find us online,” Chana Goussetis, spokesperson for Boulder County Public Health, said Wednesday.

The store is generally open Wednesday through Sunday, according to the hours listed on its Facebook page. Boulder County public health officials visited the store on Wednesday to see if public health orders were being followed. The county filed a lawsuit last week in Boulder District Court, asking the store to comply with public health mandates to wear a face covering in indoor spaces.

Goussetis said authorities found the store closed on Wednesday, which she said “would constitute compliance”.

The store is among the last to be found in violation of public health orders.

While Boulder County reports that most residents and businesses have complied, some continue to defy precautions, creating a slow and resource-intensive enforcement process for county public health officials.

Jeff Zayach, executive director of public health for Boulder County, stressed in a county press release Wednesday that the goal is “to help individuals and businesses follow public health orders to stop this virus.” and “not to impose fines or sue people.” “

“It is a slow and intensive process which is draining our resources,” Zayach said in the statement.

The number of public health violations the county has investigated since the first positive case of the coronavirus 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 “come to 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 hearing has been set at this time.”

Magic Fairy Candles again declined to comment when contacted by phone on Wednesday. The store confirmed last week that the displayed sign reflects the beliefs of Magic Fairy Candles, which does not own the space.

Additional public health violations have also been reported in five Boulder fraternities, since the start of the semester last week. Almost $ 11,000 in fines were imposed on fraternities by the Undergraduate Interfraternity Council after the reported violations.

The University of Colorado at Boulder said it will work with the Boulder Police Department to identify off-campus parties at student homes, saying at least 12 student residences have been contacted by police to party the last two weekends.

Boulder is using its Nuisance Reduction process to take targeted action against landlords and landowners for violating public health orders on their properties, which can result in their rental permits being revoked and evicted, according to the press release. CU Boulder updated its student code of conduct to prohibit violations of public health orders, the statement said.

Civilian enforcement of a public health violation includes issuing notices of violation, the statement said. If the violations continue, the next step is to take legal action in court asking a judge to issue a restraining order prohibiting the individual from violating public health orders. The individual can be charged with contempt of court for violating the restraining order, and fines and other penalties can be imposed if the violations continue, the statement said.

State laws allow public health to impose fines or civil or criminal charges for violating a public health order, the statement said. Willful violation of a public health order is a class 1 offense, and the district attorney and law enforcement officials use their discretion and judgment to determine when and how to initiate criminal proceedings, the statement said. Public health can take civil action against a person or business, asking the court to order the business or individual to comply, the statement said.

Boulder County Public Health reported Wednesday that 2,344 Boulder County residents had tested positive or probable for the virus. Of these, 196 residents were hospitalized and 79 residents died from complications related to the disease.

Elizabeth J. Harris