PROVIDENCE, RI — Four bars in Rhode Island were ordered to temporarily close Monday due to serious violations of the state's coronavirus safety regulations, according to the state Department of Health. The violations included staying open past the statewide 11 p.m. curfew, crowding in bar areas, lack of mask-wearing and more, the state said.
Three of the bars are in Providence: 7 Sisters La Cachimba Hookah Lounge, Tres Letras Hookah Lounge and Fish Co. Bar & Grill. The fourth, Pregame Lounge, is in Cranston. All four were closed pending meetings with the departments of Health and Business Regulation. Before they can reopen, they will need to be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized and the violations corrected.
Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott, director of the Department of Health, said the state is taking a zero-tolerance approach to bars that do not follow the state's safety regulations because it's "hurting the entire industry ... jeopardizing the safety of customers and communities, and ... setting the whole state back in our work to prevent the spread of this virus."
"To the businesses throughout Rhode Island that are serving customers in a way that is responsible, healthy, and safe, thank you," Alexander-Scott said. "To the businesses that are not, serious consequences can be expected."
Businesses, particularly restaurants and bars, are inspected by the COVID-19 Enforcement Task Force, a collaboration between the two departments. The inspectors at these bars said they noted a lack of separation at bars, crowding, bars open after 11 p.m. and a lack of mask-wearing among patrons and employees.
While bars can remain open under the current phase three reopening guidelines, they must stop serving at 11 p.m. Nightclubs are still banned.
Residents can file complaints about businesses that violate COVID-19 restrictions by calling 401-889-5550 or visiting taskforce.dbr.ri.gov.