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COVID-19 violation: Houston fire department cites restaurant for serving cops on patio

Restaurant chain is offering free meals to police and firefighters

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Some controversy in Houston, Texas where the president of the firm that owns Buffalo Grille told reporters that its Bissonnet location received a violation notice on Monday by the Houston Fire Department because police officers were eating on the restaurant’s patio. The incident is not playing well on law enforcement websites like Law Enforcement Today.

KPRC-TV:

Owner John McAller said a Houston firefighter came to order a free meal and then told the manager that a group of Houston Police officers, who were eating outside at a table, needed to leave right away.

When the manager told her that he didn’t want to company with that order, the firefighter left and came back with the fire marshall, who issued a notice of violation.

McAller said he had removed the table he had outside, but said the situation still hurts.

“Obviously, at first, it throws you for a loop,” he said. “Nothing surprises me anymore.”

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KTRK-TV:

Someone from the Houston Fire Department informed the restaurant’s general manager that police officers standing outside while eating needed to leave, according to Buffalo Grille president John McAleer.

McAleer explained to ABC13 the restaurant is feeding all first responders for free during this COVID-19 pandemic. Prior to the crisis, Buffalo Grille served a large number of law enforcement officers and offered them a 50 percent discount.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo told ABC13 that he spoke to Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña, who reiterated to him the warning did not carry a penalty. Acevedo added that he’ll make sure to find out who the officers were and remind them that they also have to follow the rules.

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Statement from Houston Fire Department Chief Sam Pena:

Both departments (HFD and HPD) are working diligently to enforce the spirit of the County’s Stay-Home order. With every one of the hundreds of complaint responses, the primary goal for HFD’s Occupancy Task Force has been to achieve voluntary compliance with the order through information and education. We have been extremely successful in achieving this goal as was the case in this instance. Contrary to reports, the Buffalo Grille was not cited by the HFD Occupancy Task Force and there was no fees assessed. The complaint was resolved via notice of violation as required by the County’s Order.

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