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HFD responds to more than 500 overcrowding complaints this weekend, but no citations issued

Mayor Turner says voluntary compliance is still the priority as Houston firefighters will be enforcing the state's 25% capacity order.

HOUSTON — Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner says he is still pushing compliance over punishment in getting the city's bars and clubs to follow capacity limits ordered by the state.

Houston Fire Chief Sam Peña said his investigators responded to over 500 overcrowding complaints during the Memorial Day weekend. He said all of those were handled successfully through voluntary compliance.

On Sunday, Turner vowed to enforce the state’s new 25% capacity limit on bars and clubs. He said his decision is in response to social media videos that showed blatant violations of the rules.

But just a couple days earlier, Mayor Turner had said the city would not be writing citations until they know the state supports them.

The Houston firefighters' union called it a political flip-flop and said HFD inspectors and arson investigators should not be made to be the mayor’s “political enforcers."

“If anyone is saying that the order shouldn’t be enforced— come on, that’s what we said last week, but people are violating, fragrantly violating the orders, and from a public health point of view, it’s important that we maintain control.”

Mayor Turner reiterated this is the governor’s order. He said he’s hopeful the state will support Houston in their enforcement.

RELATED: 'I cannot turn a blind eye' | Houston mayor says fire marshal will enforce 25% capacity at bars, clubs

RELATED: Houston bars reflect on first day back in business during coronavirus pandemic


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