City of Lincoln seeks injunction to close Madsen’s until it complies with DHM

Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 5:17 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - The City of Lincoln on Monday filed a motion in District Court seeking an injunction to close Madsen’s Bowling & Billiards, 4700 Dudley St. until it complies with the current Directed Health Measure to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

On Saturday, the business failed to comply with an order by the Health Director of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Health Department to close for 24 hours. The order was issued because of numerous violations of the DHM. The Lincoln Municipal Code authorizes the Health Director to order the closure of any business for the purpose of controlling communicable diseases.

Health Director Pat Lopez said LLCHD has received numerous allegations of DHM violations at Madsen’s. On July 29, LLCHD staff met in person with Madsen’s management and provided the current DHM along with information on how the business could comply. LLCHD continued to receive additional allegations of DHM violations between July 29 and 31.

On Saturday, general manager Ben Madsen told 10/11 NOW, employees weren’t wearing masks due to medical conditions. As for customers, he said it wasn’t his job. “It’s not my responsibility to police every action, and to make sure that everyone has their mask on for every single opportunity they have to be in the building,” said Madsen.

On Monday, the Health Department said it needed customer cooperation. “The patrons in the business need to help, by following the rules,” said Interim Health Director, Pat Lopez.

It’s the fourth business asked to close for 24 hours for violating the DHM, and the only one that didn’t. “We’ve always had compliance with our business community and working with them. We have not had a situation before where we have not had compliance after we’ve had to come out and issue a health order,” Lopez tells 10/11 NOW.

The DHM states that the City Attorney “may institute injunctive or other appropriate civil proceedings necessary to obtain compliance or to abate any nuisance resulting from violations of this Order.”

As of Monday night, the mayor had not commented on the situation herself. A court date and time for the injunction is said to be set on Tuesday.

Copyright 2020 KOLN. All rights reserved.

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