San Antonio official explains process for shutting down businesses due to COVID-19 violations

Code enforcement says citations, criminal activities could result in revoking of certificate of occupancy

SAN ANTONIO – When businesses violate the city’s Emergency Health Declaration put in place to help slow the spread of COVID-19, they get cited.

And if the violations continue, those businesses get shut down.

Officials with Code Enforcement Office say they are serious about enforcing the rules -- especially at a nightclub that is being closely watched.

Huge crowds this past weekend for a two-day Cody Johnson concert have yielded big consequences for Cowboys Dancehall, which hosted the events.

”We issued two citations to the Cowboys Dancehall last night due to their event this weekend and clearly lack of following any type of safety guidelines,” said City of San Antonio Development Services Director Michael Shannon.

Shannon said Cowboys Dancehall has been issued seven citations since the pandemic began.

Shannon, who oversees the city’s Code Enforcement Office, said Cowboys Dancehall will get only one more chance before it’s certificate of occupancy is revoked and forced to shut down.

”The procedure also calls for a final notice of a final warning notice. It’ll be issued today,” Shannon said.

On Nov. 24, XTC Cabaret, a strip club, received its sixth citation for violating COVID-19 safety guidelines, which led to its certificate of occupancy being revoked.

Shannon said there’s a serious reason why XTC is closed and Cowboys isn’t.

”There were other violations, other criminal activity violations, that also added up to creating a continued creation of an unsafe environment,” Shannon said.

While revoking a certificate of occupancy is carried out on a case-by-case basis, Shannon stresses the goal of the Code Enforcement Office is never to shut down local businesses in a struggling economy.

But he said safety comes first.

”You’ve got to change your ways or you’re not going to be able to stay open,” Shannon said.

Once a certificate of occupancy is revoked, the owner must file for a new one in order to open back up. The reopening process includes an inspection and review.

The owner must also effectively explain how they plan to ensure the problems that caused the business to shut down won’t resurface.

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