OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Omaha Police Lt. John Wells told 3 News Now Investigators that the department is “well beyond the educational phase” of enforcing the city’s mask mandate.
Citations have been issued at at least three businesses since the end of November, including Wheatfields, where OPD used a plainclothes officer.
The two others – Lansky's, at 50th and L Streets, and Pets R Us, in Rockbrook Village near 108th Street and Center Road – have different histories with the police department. At Lanksy’s, officers only visited once to address complaints and issued a citation then. At Pets R Us, officers visited on seven different occasions, according to an OPD log obtained by 3 News Now Investigators.
At Lansky’s, an officer saw general manager Christopher Hoffman not wearing a mask while talking to customers on Dec. 18, according to a police report. When officers told him they had received four complaints, he became agitated and defensive, the report says. “Hoffman stated that Lansky’s is his family’s business and he is not required to wear a mask in the kitchen area or up in his office,” the report reads.
At Pets R Us, police visited three times in December. During each of those visits, officers said the business was following the mandate. That changed on Jan. 3.
“They went and did a compliance check, informed them what the requirement was, and apparently were standing by at the location and within 10 minutes they observed the employee take her mask off while helping customers and they confronted her and ultimately issued a citation,” Lt. Wells said.
Each citation carries a $25 fine.
“We’re well beyond the educational phase. We’ve been doing this since August, if people aren’t complying with the mask ordinance at this point, citations will be issued,” said Lt. Wells.
Citations at other businesses
Anytime Laundry: On Nov. 23, officers did not see any of the required signage displayed on any of the doors or windows. Officers noted all the people inside the laundromat were properly distanced. Officers cited an employee for not having the required notice of face coverings, according to police records.
Rick's Meat: On Nov. 25, officers reported seeing an employee at the cash register not wearing a face covering. The owner told police she had a medical issue. The officer was advised to issue a citation.
Wheatfields: On Dec. 11, officers cited an employee and the owner for not wearing a face mask. The owner was also cited for not enforcing the mask mandate.