News and Commentary

D.C. Pub Fined $2,000 For Coronavirus Violations
Signs outside a restaurant read "Thank you Governor Pritzker!" and "We are Closed! Again" in Chicago, Illinois, U.S., on Friday, Nov. 13, 2020.
Taylor Glascock/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A pub in Washington, D.C. was given two separate $1,000 fines for violating coronavirus restrictions.

WTOP reported that Harry’s Restaurant was served the fines “after city officials noted patrons violating coronavirus-related regulations.”

“D.C’s Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration said one of its investigators issued the first $1,000 citation for ‘several observed Phase Two violations including patrons without facial coverings, patrons standing while consuming alcohol, and insufficient table spacing’ on Friday, Nov. 13,” the outlet reported. “The establishment was issued a second $1,000 citation the following day for ‘patrons without facial coverings and more than six (6) patrons being seated at a table.’”

It is unclear where the patrons were when they weren’t wearing masks, as they aren’t typically required while sitting and eating.

D.C. officials told the outlet that the restaurant had been previously warned through verbal and written warnings for similar violations last month. The restaurant told WTOP that it had “no statement” regarding the violations.

Restaurants, bars, and other small businesses are already struggling to survive in cities with severe coronavirus restrictions. Many have taken drastic steps to comply in order to stay in business, as large fines could destroy jobs and livelihoods.

Last month, a restaurant in New Hampshire was fined $2,000 after 17 patrons tested positive for COVID-19. The Associated Press reported at the time that Fat Katz Food and Drink was fined for moving a karaoke event inside because it received noise complaints and it was cold outside.

“In issuing the fine, the state in a letter to the restaurant said the decision to move the event inside after being told it wasn’t allowed indoors and allowing individuals to participate without bringing their own equipment not only violated the state’s emergency order but also was ‘reckless,’” the outlet reported. “The cases linked to Fat Katz include a person who went to the restaurant while aware of their COVID-19 diagnosis when they were supposed to be in isolation, and a second person who went there when they were knowingly supposed to be in quarantine.”

A family restaurant in Pennsylvania was also fined earlier this year for violating Gov. Tom Wolf’s (D-PA) restrictions but won its court case against the state. The restaurant, Taste of Sicily, said it opened to full capacity in order to stay in business.

“Seeing that again, the business needed it. The family needed it and they needed to do things to survive. They went ahead and reopened. And at that point, they had great support from the local level elected officials,” said the restaurant’s attorney, Eric Winter.

In Rhode Island, four restaurants were fined and closed for violating coronavirus restrictions. Nine restaurants suffered similar punishment in Erie County, New York, with dozens more receiving fines, according to The Buffalo News.

The Standard-Times reported that six restaurants in New Bedford, Massachusetts, were fined for violations. The Palm Beach Post reported similar fines for numerous restaurants in Palm Beach, Florida.

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