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Restaurants taking COVID-19 health regulations seriously to avoid permit suspensions

Restaurant owners said they can't afford to shut down after having a difficult spring season at the start of the pandemic.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Business owners are trying to run a tight ship in their establishments since health officials keep a close watch on their compliance with COVID-19 health regulations.

Governor Northam called for more stringent enforcement of current restrictions last week, especially in Hampton Roads where virus caseloads are spiking.

Health officials conducting unannounced visits at local establishments have already pulled food permits at restaurants in Norfolk, Virginia Beach and Portsmouth. 

RELATED: Three restaurants in Norfolk lose food permits for limited time after violating COVID-19 health regulations

Since health officials are making examples of businesses who are lax with enforcing restrictions, restaurant owners are doing their best to follow the rules to the letter.

Shannon Connelly, manager of Citrus on Shore Drive, says she isn't worried about being shut down during Phase Three of the state's reopening plan. That's because her restaurant is still operating with Phase Two guidelines in mind.

"We're ready at any moment, not doing anything out of the ordinary," Connelly said. "We want people to feel comfortable."

RELATED: Governor Northam orders stronger enforcement of coronavirus health regulations in Hampton Roads

Tyler Boyd, a manager at Quirks Towncenter, says his business isn't playing with fire either.

"Once you're seeing people with liquor licenses get pulled, its the summertime we already lost a few prime months," Boyd explained. "We're being very strict."

RELATED: Portsmouth health officials pulled a restaurant's permit for violating safety regulations

RELATED: Health officials suspend food permits after restaurants in Virginia Beach disobey governor's orders