State suspends liquor license of Bristol sports bar for violating COVID-19 restrictions

Daniela Altimari, Hartford Courant
·3 min read

The state on Tuesday suspended the liquor license of a Bristol sports bar found in violation of public health rules put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Agents from the Bristol-Burlington Health District visited Legends Sports Bar after 10 p.m. on Friday and found 45 patrons within the establishment, some drinking at the bar without consuming food and others playing pool. Under an executive order issued by Gov. Ned Lamont, restaurants and bars must close by 10 p.m. and must serve food to patrons consuming alcohol.

“We expect liquor establishments in our state to take public health and safety seriously,” said Michelle H. Seagull, commissioner of the Department of Consumer Protection, which oversees compliance with the state’s liquor laws.

“The guidelines implemented to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 were established to protect the public, and those who intentionally ignore those guidelines put themselves, their employees, their customers and their community at risk," Seagull said.

This marks the second time state regulators have pulled an establishment’s liquor permit. Earlier this month, Seagull signed an order suspending the permit for the Dixwell Social Lounge in Hamden after police observed a large crowd on Halloween well beyond the 125 allowed under Lamont’s executive order.

The Bristol investigation began after three agents from the health district saw patrons “crowding the bar” at Legends when they arrived at 10:12 p.m. to conduct a spot check.

“Drinks were actively being served from the bar and patrons were observed drinking without also consuming food. The agents observed that 16 bar stools were occupied by patrons without social distancing or plexiglass barriers,” according to Seagull’s order suspending the permit. “The agents saw patrons playing pool, and music was playing loudly.”

Marco Palmeri, health director of the Bristol-Burlington district, told state regulators that “Legend’s Bar was in full service well beyond the mandated 10 p.m. closure time and there were no indications the establishment was closing for the night anytime soon.”

The agents ordered the premises to close immediately.

Marc Leboeuf, who holds the liquor permit for Legends, arrived on the scene and reacted with sarcasm when he spoke to the agents, Seagull’s suspension order states.

Leboeuf told the agents he is “trying to make a living,” the department said. "The agents reminded Mr. Leboeuf that BBHD had sent emails to all establishments serving liquor within the District to notify them of the changed ... rules and mandated 10 p.m. closure. Mr. Leboeuf brushed them off, stating he ‘doesn’t check his email,’ '' Seagull’s order states.

Leboeuf told the agents that “they should try to be less serious” and offered them pizza and martinis, according to Seagull’s order.

“Mr. LeBoeuf is unwilling to take responsibility for his business’s impact on public health,'' Palmeri said.

Max Reiss, spokesman for Lamont, said the department’s action reflects the seriousness of the public health crisis brought on by the pandemic.

“This latest action by the Department of Consumer Protection shows once again that establishments that are not operating in the interests of public health will not go unnoticed," Reiss said. "The sector rules are in place for one reason – to keep customers and employees safe. We must give credit to local authorities for taking the COVID mitigation measures seriously, and the State of Connecticut will step in with these kinds of actions if necessary. Enforcement of these rules is a tool in the toolbox to keep residents safe.”

Daniela Altimari can be reached at dnaltimari@courant.com.

———

©2020 The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.)

Visit The Hartford Courant (Hartford, Conn.) at www.courant.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.