DUBLIN, Ga. — COVID-19 cases are skyrocketing around the state and we've been hearing from some of you about crowded bars and restaurants here in Central Georgia.
A picture of a maskless crowd inside Company Supply Saturday night is circulating around Dublin.
On Facebook, owner Richard Mascaro said, "While not outside 'capacity regulations,' we were overwhelmed with a large crowd congregating on our bar side. Our main dining area was spaced accordingly."
"It was a bad situation we didn't expect or handle to the best of our ability. I will meet it head on, accept any blowback and be open about it," he continued. "We learned a valuable lesson and chose to make future decisions based on that lesson."
Monday, Mascaro told 13WMAZ in a text they are changing the layout in the restaurant and installing a new point of sale system.
The picture comes as Dublin's COVID-19 cases are soaring.
Laurens County had 780 new cases in the past two weeks.
Fairview Park Hospital has around 67 patients with the virus, compared to 20 a month ago.
"Our ICU is full, most of our COVID units are full, not most all of them are full, we are just having a full-on onslaught of patients coming in," Dr. George Harrison, Chief Medical Officer, told 13WMAZ last week.
Dublin does still have their mask mandate in place, which says while inside a business, you have to wear a mask.
For restaurants, you can take it off while eating and drinking, but if you're getting up and moving around, you have to have it on.
Dublin City Manager Lance Jones says the city has written very few citations for violations to the mask mandate, but didn't know how many.
He says they try to give out warnings before writing people up.
The first violation after a warning could cost you up to $25, the second violation could cost you up to $50 and all violations including and after the third could cost you up to $100.
Jones says they are looking into what happened at Company Supply over the weekend.
"The City of Dublin will be strictly enforcing the Executive Order of Governor Brian Kemp," Jones also said on Facebook.
Kemp's State of Emergency Order has been extended to February 7th.
The same one that's been in place since June, with minimal changes, even though some counties' cases have doubled since the peak this summer.
"We know how to fight through this and we'll continue to do that. If something changes, I'll always have an open mind," said Kemp in a press conference last week.
As a reminder, that order bans large gatherings of 50 or more people unless social distancing is strictly maintained.
Restaurant workers are required to wear face coverings when interacting with patrons. At salad bars and buffets, workers can use cafeteria-style service to serve patrons OR they must provide hand sanitizer, a sneeze guard, and regularly replace shared utensils for self-service.
Bars can have 50 people OR 35% of their total listed fire capacity – whichever is greater.
In Bibb County, Mayor Lester Miller signed an executive order last week to limit attendance to one customer for every 150 square feet for places with a liquor license.
So far, the Bibb County Sheriff's Office says they haven't written any citations for violations of that order.