Harris County adds COVID-19 compliance monitors to keep up with safety complaints

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Harris County Fire Marshal's Office has added a new team of members to keep up with COVID-19 compliance complaints.

Rachel Neutzler, who is the director of communications for the Harris County Fire Marshal's Office, said the office is averaging 60 to 70 complaints a day now dealing with COVID-19 safety violations.

"So, we have two different kinds of complaints that we're getting. One in regards to the Governor's order which are the 50 percent occupancies in restaurants and other businesses, the second kind of complaints we get are Harris County's health and safety mask order, which are where businesses are required to post health and safety signage, have a health and safety policy, and require all consumers that come in their stores to wear a mask."

The fire marshal's office was approved to fill 10 COVID-19 compliance monitor position, but Neutzler said they would start with six and add more as needed.

"This person will get the complaint at the beginning of the day, and have a list of businesses or occupancies that they would need to go visit and check to see if these are valid complaints, if the business needs education or if they simply need a health and safety order," Neutzler said. "If they need a health and safety order, they need to put it in their business window. They'll then either take away the complaint and educate the business owner, or if there's not anything to educate them on, they will simply mark it as unfounded, and that's what they'll do on a daily basis."

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