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Macon bar cited 4 times for violating mayor's executive order on COVID-19

Bibb County Sheriff's Office says Overtyme Bar and Grill was cited four times for being over the 35 percent capacity

MACON, Ga. — The Bibb County Sheriff's Office says they've been enforcing the mayor's executive order regarding COVID-19. Part of the executive order requires bars to operate at 35 percent capacity. 

So far, the sheriff's office says they've issued five citations to establishments who have failed to do that.  

One bar has received four of those five citations. 

13WMAZ spoke to the owner of Overtyme Bar and Grill about the violations and the consequences his business could face.

Larry Harris, owner of Overtyme Bar and Grill, says his bar has gone years without any citations, but since January, his bar has been cited a total of six times.

"I'm not sure why all the sudden this is happening when eight years, we've had a clean record," Harris said. 

He says two of those citations are for suspected underage drinking. The other four citations were for allegedly violating the mayor's executive order on COVID-19 safety.

"So I asked the question, 'What part of the executive order are we violating? Are we violating because not having proper masks? Social distancing or overcrowding?'" Harris said. "Not once did they tell us what part of the order we were violating."

The Bibb County Sheriff's Office says Overtyme violated the mayor's executive order four times by being overcapacity. Col. Henderson Carswell says under the order, Overtyme can have no more than 102 people inside.

"First time, we received a complaint. Deputy went out warned them and had to go back again and cited them on the first complaint. The second time was a random check. They were overcrowded. The last two times we were called out there, responding to complaints of overcapacity," Carswell said. 

Harris claims he was not overcapacity all four times he was cited.

In two of those cases, Harris says deputies forced him to close down for the night. The latest time it happened was this past Saturday, March 6.

"They told us turn the music off and tell the people to leave. 'Why am I telling my patrons to leave?' I asked the officer," Harris said. According to Harris, the deputy told him that the bar was in violation of the mayor's executive order. 

Mayor Lester Miller's executive order says the sheriff's office should make establishments shut down for the duration of the public health emergency after two citations. 

By email, the sheriff's office said that they are aware of the four citations against Overtyme and that "it seems obvious that this establishment is not taking the executive order seriously and there will be action taken based on these violations."

"I'm worried not so much about my alcohol license. I'm worried about my customers who come here every day, who support here, who come here because they feel safe, and then you have these people picking and targeting," Harris said. 

Col. Carswell says Heaven Restaurant on Mercer University Drive was cited once for violating the mayor's order by being overcapacity. 

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