Denver Cites Walmart and More for Violating COVID-19 Health Orders

The Walmart at 2770 West Evans Avenue received a citation from Denver Public Health and Environment on October 10.
The Walmart at 2770 West Evans Avenue received a citation from Denver Public Health and Environment on October 10. Google Maps
So far in October, Denver Public Health and Environment has issued seventeen citations for violations of the city's public-health order. Those ticketed include giant retailers such as Walmart, King Soopers and Sam's Club, as well as a restaurant that allegedly allowed a big party to be staged behind its location and even a private school at which a majority of students weren't wearing facial coverings.

These enforcement actions have taken place against a troubling backdrop. During his October 13 press conference, Governor Jared Polis shared Colorado's worst COVID-19 data since the pandemic began and noted that Denver is driving the terrible stats, along with Adams County. The numbers in the Mile High are a big reason why Denver Public Schools has now announced that in-person learning for middle school and high school students will be delayed until November 9 at the earliest.

Even before Polis's revelations, Mayor Michael Hancock acknowledged that the city had reached a make-or-break moment regarding the novel coronavirus, and teased a new crackdown on those violating health orders in an effort to stave off greater restrictions on capacity at businesses and restaurants or, in a worst-case scenario, a renewed stay-at-home mandate.

Even so, the DDPHE hasn't been issuing nearly as many citations as it did this summer. On July 31, the agency announced that it would step up enforcement, and within three weeks, at least 78 businesses had been cited or closed over assorted public-safety issues. Since then, though, no business has been closed: The last shutdown, involving the bar area of the Nativ Hotel, at 1612 Wazee Street, was on August 14, and it was allowed to reopen a week later.

Here are the cumulative enforcement actions under Denver's Safer at Home order:
Total Contacts to-date: 16,876
Mask-related contacts only: 2,874
Warnings to-date: 15,111
Mask-related warnings only: 2,593
Citations to-date: 195
Placards to-date (closures): 13
Reopening: 13
The latest batch of citations includes a number focusing on employees at businesses not donning masks or wearing them improperly. For example, at Northwoods Investors, located at 1819 Wazee, 20 of 26 employees were without facial coverings when inspectors stopped by.

Other violators of note include Miguel Rosales, 4114 Morrison Road; a gathering of forty people took place in a garage behind the restaurant on October 4. Triangle Denver was ticketed after authorities saw unmasked attendees freely mingling, and Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic school, at 2256 South Logan, earned punishment because the majority of students in classrooms were mask-free.

Here are the DDPHE's updated citations list for October, accompanied by the department's explanation of what went wrong.

1. 10/12: Denver Winair (1550 W Evans Ave Unit M)
5/5 employees in facility had no face coverings. GV [General Violations] and orders issued. Follow-up required.

2. 10/10: Walmart (2770 W Evans Ave)
Two employees with mask below the nose. One employee with shield, no face covering.

3. 10/10: King Soopers (10405 E Martin Luther King Blvd)
Two employees not wearing a face covering, GV issued.

4. 10/10: Sam’s Club (7805 E 35th Ave)
3 employees wearing face covering on or below their chin. GV issued, follow-up needed.

5. 10/10: 7-Eleven (3400 York St.)
Two employees not wearing a mask within 6 ft of each other and walked through facility before donning a mask.

6. 10/9: Sipping N Painting Highland (4995 Lowell Blvd)
Patrons allowed to walk through facility without masks, no access to retail food establishment, required signage not posted. GV issued to manager on site.

7. 10/8: Ninja Trader LLC (1422 Delgany St. #400)
Employees not wearing face cover on 10/7. Orders and GV issued via email to HR Manager.

8. 10/8: Colorado Electric Supply (4955 Peoria St.)
Two employees observed not wearing a face covering. Required City posters are not posted at public entrances.

9. 10/7: Amtrak Union Station (1701 Wynkoop St.)
Citation issued based on two employees observed not wearing masks in a small office during previous visit.

10. 10/6: Northwoods Investors (1819 Wazee St)
20 out of 26 employees not wearing mask in open floor office and some within 6 feet of each other.

11. 10/4: Miguel Rosales (4114 Morrison Rd)
Gathering of 40 people in a garage behind restaurant.

12. 10/3: Otra vez Cantina (610 16th St Mall)
GV issued after first inspection on 10/01, observed 3 employees not wearing a face cover.

13. 10/2: Crimson and Gold (2017 S University Blvd)
Performer loudly speaking without mask while less than 10 feet from seated tables. Occupied tables on patio under 6 feet. People mingling w/o masks.

14. 10/2: Triangle Denver (2036 N Broadway)
Found people mingling with no face mask

15. 10/2: Mi Gusto Es (3700 Morrison Rd)
Food safety inspection follow up, observed 3 of 4 employees no masks/masks below chins within 6 ft of each other.

16. 10/1Dynamic : Fitness Co (2501 Champa St)
3 out of 3 patrons working out indoors while not wearing a face covering or not properly wearing face covering.

17. 10/1
Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School (2256 S Logan St)
Majority of students without face covering in classrooms observed on 9/30.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts