LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- As people prepared to ring in the new year Thursday, the Louisville Metro Health Department got ready to crack down on businesses that didn't follow proper safety guidelines.
As of Thursday afternoon, the health department said it had issued warnings to 13 businesses that announced events for New Year's Eve that would violate safety protocols.
"We've taken that list of facilities we've identified, and we've shared that with our partners at ABC as well as LMPD, and we've made them aware so they will be able to check in on those facilities if issues come up," said Nick Hart, environmental health manager of the health department.
Along with requiring face masks and social distancing, the guidance also prohibits bar seating. Food and drinks cannot be served past 11 p.m., and indoor dining needs to be closed by midnight.
Capacity is also limited to 50%.
"Creating environments where people can gather together unmasked — because you're either consuming food or drinking beverages — these are the environments that spread infection," Hart said.
Hart said businesses are notified of their violation first and given the chance to correct the issue. If businesses do not take immediate action and allow the violation to continue, they may be fined, have liquor and food licenses revoked or be forced to close down permanently.
For those who have been vaccinated, Hart said the same guidance still applies. He said Kentucky State Auditor Mike Harmon testing positive Tuesday after receiving the vaccine should be an example to the public that vaccinations do not take immediate effect. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines both take 7-10 days for immunity to be built up, with more immunity built after a second dose is administered a few weeks later.
Health officials say even when vaccinated, people can still carry the virus for a short period of time and spread it to others.
"I would suggest to people that they realize we are just at the beginning of the end," Hart said. "There is still a lot of work to be done. Really, it comes down to what are you willing to do to protect the people you care about the most."
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