The state has fined three restaurants and warned two others for violations of reopening regulations, particularly rules requiring workers to wear masks while serving customers, that were reported by patrons.
The words “guidance” and “guidelines” do not mean the reopening regulations are optional, the letters from the Attorney General’s Office warn. To operate, restaurants must make sure their employees are wearing face masks.
The Simply Delicious Baking Company in Bedford, Checkmate Pizza in Concord and What A Bagel in Nashua were fined $500 each, for repeatedly failing to ensure employees wore masks, according to letters from Associate Attorney General Anne M. Edwards.
A health inspector visited the Simply Delicious bakery in July after receiving complaints, Edwards wrote. The inspector saw employees were not wearing masks, and the owner refused the inspector’s direction to make them put on masks.
Bedford’s police and fire chiefs wrote the bakery a warning, but the bakery still did nothing to make sure workers wore masks as they served customers.
What A Bagel received at least five warnings about the rules, according to a letter to the company from Edwards, after visits from Nashua city health officials and Nashua police, as well as multiple phone calls from the Attorney General’s Office.
“Despite this requirement, What A Bagel employees continue to operate without face coverings.”
After a customer complained in early July that Checkmate Pizza staff in Concord were not wearing masks, a member of the Attorney General’s Office staff called the restaurant to make sure they knew the rules. Concord police checked in at the restaurant a week after the initial complaint, and said everyone was wearing masks and keeping a distance.
Another complaint came in July 31, saying workers were not wearing masks, and another customer complained of the same on Sept. 21.
All three restaurants were fined $500.
Two restaurants warned
The Common Man’s Plymouth event venue, Barn on the Pemi, and the Game Changer Sports Bar and Grill in Londonderry received warnings from the Attorney General’s Office after complaints.
Inspectors visiting the Game Changer bar found staff were not wearing masks around customers, and customers were not all seated in the bar area. The owners were warned of penalties in a Nov. 16 letter.
“As has been explained to you directly and repeatedly, your business must comply with both the Universal Guidelines and the Restaurant/Food Service Industry Guidance,” the letter to Game Changer’s owner said.
Game Changer had received special permission to keep holding cornhole tournaments as long as all participants stayed six feet apart or wore masks, did not eat or drink as they played and went back to their seats once their games were over.
The state did not give Game Changer permission to hold a beer pong tournament and ordered the bar to cancel the tournament it advertised last month.
A Sept. 22 wedding at the Barn on the Pemi prompted a complaint to the Attorney General’s Office. According to a letter from Edwards, the Common Man’s Chief Operating Officer Sean Brown told staff at the Attorney General’s Office that people wore masks.
But photos from the wedding showed “a disturbing lack of caution” by wedding guests. Photos show only a few people wore masks, and people crowded together during and after the ceremony.
At events of more than 100 people, according to the state’s regulations, people in different households are supposed to keep six feet apart and wear masks.