RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Four Richmond bars have had their permits suspended for violating Governor Northam’s COVID-19 executive orders mandating face coverings or other phase three guidelines.
8News spoke with the Owner of Slingshot, Robert Lupica, who says his business just reopened after being shut down for month. He calls the situation unfair.
“I was just a little bit surprised and I was definitely upset,” said Lupica. “They said we have seven complaints and very little warning and all of sudden they come in and say they’re closing us.”
Lupica says the social game club has had over 100 people waiting outside to get in specifically during the night time.
“That’s where they think we’re not social distancing,” said Lupica.
Good Tymes has already been suspended once in the past for guideline violations.
Avula tells 8News they tried to work with businesses and get them to comply before temporarily revoking their permits.
“We’re trying every way we know how to be supportive and not punitive. We really want to work with businesses. We know this is a very challenging economic time for everybody and that so many businesses are just trying to stay afloat in the midst of COVID,” said Avula.
He adds they always start with a call, tell them they’re getting complaints, and follow up with an offer to help. Then they have one or more in person visits from them or other agencies, typically ABC to document the findings.
Despite the Health District’s efforts, Avula says they still wouldn’t comply. There are three main reasons why business permits are being revoked:
- Not requiring employees to wear face masks.
- Continuing to serve at the bar.
- Not enforcing social distancing.
Since the start of the pandemic, 13 businesses in the area have had to shut down.
The Richmond and Henrico District have received over 3,000 complaints.
In order for businesses to reopen, they will need to come up with a corrective action plan and meet with the VDH officials again.
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