The Honolulu Liquor Commission Tuesday announced it shut down Tapas Restaurant & Wine Bar in Waikiki for 24 hours after authorities observed multiple violations.
It is the second time that the commission has had to shut down a bar due to violations of COVID-19 emergency rules. This time, the violations included not observing social distancing rules and not wearing facial coverings as required.
Officials said that at about 11 p.m. on Saturday, commission investigators heard via a 24-hour complaint line that Tapas at 407 Seaside Avenue was not observing social distancing rules.
Upon arrival, investigators found a very crowded bar with “absolutely no social distancing occurring,” according to a news release. In addition, the majority of bar patrons were not wearing any facial coverings.
Honolulu police assisted in closing the establishment and counted about 120 customers exiting the small bar. Tapas was subsequently cited for a violation of the condition of its license.
Tapas Restaurant & Wine Bar could not be reached for comment this morning. On its Facebook page, Tapas says it offers a full bar, food and karaoke.
Bars were allowed to reopen in Honolulu County on June 19, with requirements including no more than 50% of maximum occupancy, ensuring groups maintain at least six feet of separation and that customers wear face coverings upon entering and leaving the bar.
Under a new emergency COVID-19 rule issued by Mayor Kirk Caldwell last week, alcohol may not be served to customers past midnight.
“I wish all liquor establishments would follow Honolulu Emergency Orders, instead of a few jeopardizing everyone else’s operations,” said Caldwell in a news release. “It is in everyone’s best interest to reduce the spread of this virus. While businesses are suffering right now, many will not survive another shutdown. Responsible behavior will allow businesses to remain open, and will keep their patrons safe.”