FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control said it receives complaints daily about bars and restaurants not following health guidelines during the pandemic.
Just this week, Brewskis in Little Rock was issued a cease and desist order by the Arkansas Department of Health after an ABC officer found the bar wasn’t following social distancing or face mask guidelines.
Scott Hardin tells KNWA/Fox 24 the officer could barely get through the door the bar was so packed.
He said Northwest Arkansas hasn’t had a case like this, but it’s had its fair share of complaints.
But after following up with owners, the issues have always been resolved.
ABC sends officers into bars across the state, whether its a random check or someone called and complained, and they survey the area.
If they see that there’s a serious issue, they’ll contact the Department of Health, and the ADH can issue a cease and desist order shortly after.
This means the bar must close and cease operations immediately.
The ABC can also choose to resolve the issue with the business directly, and avoid a legal battle.
Hardin said the longer people don’t comply with these rules, the longer it’s going to take to get rid of them.
“If we have locations across the state that are failing to follow guidelines, and packing people in without any masks and without social distancing, then this problem, this COVID-19 problem, is going to go on much longer than it needs to,” he said.
He adds if you go to a bar or restaurant, you need to wear a mask not only when you walk in, but when you can’t be six feet apart from the person next to you.