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Fargo mayor signs executive order limiting occupancy in bars, restaurants

The Mayor of Fargo has signed an executive order that will limit occupancy in bars and restaurants.

Tim Mahoney’s order mandates that bars and restaurants cap their occupancy at 25 percent or fifty people, whichever threshold is met first. City Attorney Eric Johnson says the mayor’s order comes down as COVID-19 levels are spiking and hospitalization rates are at or near capacity. Johnson says violations of this order will carry penalties.

"Violations are an infraction, that's a criminal offense and can be charged out in municipal court. The maximum penalty is $1000 fine, the fine amount itself is set by the judge. As to facilities with liquor licenses, their licenses require them to comply with laws and rules of the city as well, and so it's certainly possible if somebody were flagrantly violating this, that the city commission might schedule a hearing and make a decision as to whether or not it was violated, and so perhaps a suspension of a day or two or perhaps longer might be imposed as a punishment."

Johnson says the order is taking effect Monday, November 16 at 8am. He says this will give businesses time to understand the order and make sure they are in compliance. The order is currently set to expire in the early morning hours of Tuesday, December 15.

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