virus closed sign2

A closed sign is posted in the window of a business Thursday, April 2, 2020, in Champaign.

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Q: What kinds of coronavirus-based complaints about businesses are being reported?

A: The Champaign-Urbana Public Health District has received complaints about a variety of businesses, ranging from hardware stores to smoke shops.

After the governor’s stay-at-home order was enacted March 21, the health district "received an avalanche of calls and a list was not created at that time.”

From March 28 to April 15, it received 62 complaints, according to a list obtained by The News-Gazette through an open-records request. Of those, 32 were deemed to be nonessential businesses.

Ten complaints were received for smoke shops.

Six complaints were received for salons, including one that was cutting hair by appointment.

Five complaints were received for hardware stores, which are allowed to stay open as essential businesses.

In several cases, a call to the business appeared to clear the issue up.

— An antique shop in St. Joseph was told not to do curbside pickup, but could drop off items at porches.

— A restaurant in Urbana was instructed about social distancing.

— A hardware store in Champaign was told about disinfecting carts.

— A senior living center in Savoy removed a hydration station.

— And two pet shops were told they could board pets but not groom them.

The health district encouraged people to contact its hotline at 217-239-7877 or send an email to coronavirus@c-uphd.org to report stay-at-home order violations. If found to be in violation, the health district can issue a cease-and-desist order.

If the business doesn’t comply, then the case could be referred to the Champaign County State’s Attorney's Office, which hasn’t prosecuted anyone yet, State's Attorney Julia Rietz said April 9.

“We have not had to file criminal charges at this point,” Rietz said. “I am hopeful that we will get through this without having to resort to that extreme response.”