JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The City of Jacksonville says its inspectors were out Wednesday making sure businesses deemed a danger have shut down.
Action News Jax reported earlier this week 15 Jacksonville internet cafés doing business without ‘Certificates of Use’ (COU) were forced to close by the City by Monday at 5 p.m.
The City said café owners had 24 hours to remove personal belongings, or face possible arrests for trespassing on condemned properties.
City officials call internet cafes a nuisance, but customers we spoke to disagree.
“I don’t like it,” said a café customer who asked not be named when discussing closures happening around Jacksonville.
The City tells us its inspectors started making their rounds on Tuesday after Monday’s shutdown by visiting 14 businesses.
According to the City, inspectors found four of the 14 cafés up and running. The City says those businesses were shut down without arrests.
Moreover, the City tells us eight of the 14 visited by inspectors Tuesday were closed and appeared to no longer be operational, while two of the 14 cafés were shut down for fire and building code violations. We’re told the cafés that closed for code violations had COUs.
Action News Jax Investigator Ryan Nelson hit the streets this afternoon looking for cafés that may be operating illegally.
Nelson first went to a University Blvd. café which, according to City documents, was denied a COU. There he found locked doors, boarded windows and a sign reading “We will open soon!”
He went to another café in Spring Park. There he found signs saying a cease and desist order was issued, and the building was condemned.
“We’ve got nothing to do here in Jacksonville,” said the local customer. “This is the only place we can go at night!”
The City says cafés with COUs have until February 1st, 2020, to shut down.
Action News Jax will follow up with the City for details on Wednesday’s inspections.
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