Guilford County dogs have been told to “stay.”

Specifically, they haven’t been orderedto stay; they have only been told to stay if they wish to stay, at Joymongers Brewing Company, that is.

This week, the Guilford County Health Department – a division of the county’s Department of Health and Human Services – created a major storm on social media when a health inspector issued a warning to the popular brewery at 576 N. Eugene St. in Greensboro stating that the business could not allow dogs inside. Even though Joymongers has no kitchen or food preparation areas, it was classified as a “restaurant” because taprooms have no official designation under current state law.  That meant dogs were banned from the premises.

However, it turns out that a lot of people in Guilford County love man’s cuddly best friend a lot more than they love stuffy old bureaucratic anti-business, anti-dog interpretations of ambiguous state statutes. Complaints poured in from people who had a bone to pick with health officials, and a lot of negative comments were posted on Facebook and other social media sites.  State Rep. Jon Hardister jumped in on the canine controversy on the side of the furry friends and so did other elected leaders.

Guilford County Commissioner Justin Conrad said he spoke with Guilford County Health Director Merle Green about the issue on Thursday night, Feb. 14, after many people had discussed the situation with him.  On Friday, Feb. 15, Conrad said that Green is going to give Joymongers permission to continue allowing dogs at its establishment as a “stop-gap” fix while the state legislature does its work in addressing the taproom classification issue.

“Some people were reaching out to me and I reached out to her and she was willing to allow this,” Conrad said of the reprieve for dogs.

He said Joymongers had been informed.

“She has been in communication with the owner-manager,” he said.

Conrad also said that the dog ban was anti-common sense and anti-business and the commissioner added that he’s glad to see people coming together to find a solution.

Conrad said the Health Department was actually not being Draconian but instead it had been “very sympathetic” to the business and was trying to help arrive at a fix at the state level – but the department felt its hands were tied by state bureaucracy until a broader solution could be reached.  Conrad said he’s glad to now see common-sense prevailing.

“It’s like a law that says you have to honk twice if there is a cow in the road before turning right,” Conrad said.

On Friday, Green said everyone involved is working together to find a permanent fix.

“The situation has a lot of very positive moving parts,” Green said, “and all of us as stakeholders are working very well to address the many complications of our state law. On Monday, we are planning to have a stakeholders’ meeting to continue to address the needs of patrons and businesses.”