'Repeated' COVID violations close Wildwood's Shamrock Beef & Ale for summer

A Wildwood, New Jersey bar will be closed for the summer after repeated violations of the state's COVID-19 health and safety orders prompted officials to suspend their liquor license.

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

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced the settlement this week, adding that two other venues operating under the same license at that location, Castaway’s Pirate Bar and Club Amnesia, must also cease serving alcohol during the suspension.

Grewal says the settlement resolved charges from two COVID-19 compliance inspections that were conducted by Wildwood Police in November 2020, and on by the state's Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) in March 2021.

During those inspections, authorities say they found, "numerous breaches 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."

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The infractions found during the March 2021 inspection, occurred just two days after the establishment had finished serving a 100-day license suspension for prior violations.

Sara Ambrico, one of the bar’s managers, says its last operating day was last Saturday and that they will not try to operate without alcohol during the summer suspension.

Instead, she says they plan to reopen on Oct. 1, 2021. She says the bar tried to comply with state regulations and spent thousands of dollars on modifications.

"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 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."

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The Attorney General's Office says the settlement also requires the licensee to terminate its current management team and also to acknowledge that the venue "Club Amnesia" is an indoor facility subject to indoor operations requirements.

State officials say ABC has initiated enforcement actions against 264 establishments in response to COVID-19 related violations by licensees dating back to March 2020.  Those actions have delivered warnings, and sought fines, license suspensions, and license revocations.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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