Health Department investigates hundreds of complaints related to COVID-19 safety concerns

15 Finds Out

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Allen County Health Department has received hundreds of consumer complaints over concerns that restaurants and other establishments have failed to comply with public health requirements related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a spokesperson for the Allen County Department of Health, the agency typically receives about 600 consumer complaints each year. The department has fielded more than 250 complaints since Indiana moved to phase four of Governor Eric Holcomb’s reopening plan June 12.

Complaints include workers without masks or wearing them improperly, a lack of social distancing guidelines and businesses not adhering to capacity limits.

Holcomb’s executive order indicates that restaurants can operate at 75% capacity, while bars, nightclubs, movie theaters and bowling alleys can open at 50% capacity. Additionally, all restaurant and bar employees are required to wear face coverings. The order also disallowed self-service at buffets.

Through a public records request, 15 Finds Out obtained 39 inspection reports that indicate two dozen establishments were in violation of the Governor’s executive order since Phase 4 began. Fujiyama Grill & Buffet and Baba’s Steak and Lemonade were shut down temporarily for failure to comply with the health department’s order after an inspector observed violations during multiple visits.

Fujiyama Grill & Buffet, located off Coliseum Boulevard, was ordered to close by the health department after an inspection conducted July 7. Several consumer complaints indicate concerns over inadequate social distancing, the restaurant’s cleanliness, and customers using the buffet. Inspectors had previously given the establishment verbal orders to stop allowing consumer self-service June 23. It has since reopened.

Baba’s Steak and Lemonade, located on North Wells Street, was also temporarily shut down following an inspection June 29. According to the inspection report, the owner was cooking in the kitchen without a mask. A verbal order was issued on June 25 for employees to wear masks and the establishment was given 24 hours to comply, the report said.

Other restaurants found in violation of the executive order for workers not wearing masks or facial coverings include:

  • Mitchell’s Sports Bar & Grill, West Jefferson Blvd.
  • Lunch Box Cafe, Coldwater Rd.
  • Lucille’s BBQ, Lima Rd.
  • Lalos Mexican Restaurant, West Wallen Rd.
  • Papa John’s, East Dupont Rd.
  • New Great Wall Restaurant, West Jefferson Blvd.
  • Pub 1802, Spy Run Ave.
  • Redwood Inn, West Main St.
  • Subway, Lima Rd.
  • The Venice Restaurant, Goshen Rd.
  • Top’s Tavern, Maplecrest Rd.
  • McDonald’s, Bluffton Rd.
  • Hardee’s, West Rudisill Blvd.
  • Angel’s Cafe, East State Blvd.
  • Buffalo Wild Wings, West Dupont Rd.
  • Dos Margaritas, North Clinton, St.
  • Guacamole’s, Saint Joe Rd.
  • Brandy’s Lounge, West Coliseum Blvd.
  • Subway, Leo Cedarville, IN
  • Dairy Sweet, Grabill, IN
  • Harlan Donuts, Harlan, IN
  • Dairy Queen, New Haven, IN

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