New Jersey

‘Repeated' COVID Violations Close Wildwood Bar for Entire Summer

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A Wildwood bar will be closed for the entire summer for repeated violations of COVID-19 health and safety orders, the New Jersey Attorney General's Office said Monday.

Under a negotiated settlement with the state, Shamrock Beef & Ale will have its liquor license suspended from May 1 through Sept. 30.

Sara Ambrico, one of the bar's managers, said its last operating day was last Saturday. It will not try to operate without alcohol during the license suspension, instead reopening Oct. 1.

The settlement between the bar's ownership company and the state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control resolves charges stemming from two COVID-19 compliance inspections conducted by the Wildwood Police Department in November 2020, and one conducted by the ABC in March 2021.

They found “numerous” violations of COVID-19 executive orders, including repeated violations of social distancing requirements and the then-10 p.m. curfew on indoor food and drink services, the attorney general's office said.

“The significant suspension we’re announcing today sends a clear message that flouting COVID-19 public health measures will not be tolerated,” said Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. “As the weather warms up, ABC will be keeping a close eye on clubs, bars, and restaurants that attract summer crowds to make certain they’re doing their part to ensure patrons are enjoying themselves safely.”

Ambrico said the bar tried its best to comply with state regulations, and spent “thousands and thousands of dollars” on modifications.

“We 110% tried to comply with every order and meet (Gov. Phil) Murphy's restrictions,” she said. “We have a bar surrounded in plexiglass. We cut a hole in a bar that's been here since 1937 to try to comply with the orders, and it's never enough.”

The attorney general's office said the ABC inspected Shamrock last November just days after the bar had reopened from a previous 100-day license suspension for previous COVID violations.

“Compliance with COVID-19 executive orders is a requirement, not an option,” said ABC Director James Graziano.

The agency has taken enforcement actions against 264 establishments in response to COVID-19-related violations dating back to March 2020.


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