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Video: 2 Harris County fire marshal inspectors shut down tanning salon while violating ‘mask order’

CROSBY, Texas – Two Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office Inspectors who shut down a Crosby Tanning Salon will be disciplined for violating a Harris County Order and department policy when they visited the location.

The incident at Island Tanz, a family-owned tanning salon in Crosby, was caught on store surveillance camera on May 1.

“My mind was blown by the fact they didn’t have a mask on or any type of PPE,” said Island Tanz owner, David Givans.

A complaint generated the initial visit.

Givans said the inspectors threatened him with arrest if he did not immediately close the location at 6500 FM 2100.

The inspectors ultimately did not cite Givans for violating any order, but rather shuttered the business based on a paperwork technicality.

Givans said that he had recently bought out his partner and did not note the change with Harris County, a technical violation that allowed the HCFMO to close the place.

Givans thought he was fine to open his May 1 because the county’s order had expired and the Gov. Greg Abbott’s order was not clear or enforceable regarding tanning salons, according to his legal counsel. Other tanning salons also opened May 1, he said.

We contacted the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office about the incident and received the following response:

"It is 100 percent a HCFMO directive that staff members must wear mask when working with the public and business community. On April 13, HCFMO required all employees on duty to wear some sort of respiratory protection when in a public setting. All employees were provided facial coverings for the appropriate hazards.

"If the mask posed any type of health issue or safety issue, staff could obtain supervisor approval to not wear the mask. The two inspectors should have had mask on, and they are being disciplined for violating this directive.

"HCFMO has been working with Island Tanz to help walk the business owner through the appropriate procedure in obtaining the appropriate permits. Business is being inspected today. Below is a timeline of when we received communication from the owner.

"Tuesday, 5/5 – Chief of Inspections spoke with owner via telephone and walked through process.

"Wed., 5/6 -- Owner emailed at 4:45 p.m., stating he received the approved changed of ownership from Harris County Engineering, and he submitted as built documentation.

"Today 5/7 – HCFMO approved as built documentation. Business Owner requested a final inspection. An HCFMO inspector had a cancellation today and we were able to get an inspector out today.

“***Note: The owner was notified we could do the inspection today, prior to me receiving your phone call at 1:48 p.m.,” Rachel Moreno," HCFMO public information officer, wrote via email.

Givans received a passing grade on his re-inspection Thursday and planned to re-open Friday.