Bar temporarily closed for violating coronavirus regulations

RI Department of Health Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott signed the Immediate Compliance Order involving Harris Bar & Grill in Coventry. Pool photo by David DelPoio / The Providence Journal

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island restaurant was ordered closed over the July 4 weekend for failing to follow the state’s coronavirus safety regulations.

The state Department of Business Regulation ordered Harris Bar and Grill in Coventry closed on July 3, making it first establishment the state has closed for failing to follow the pandemic regulations.

The restaurant reopened Wednesday after being reinspected and found to be in compliance, WJAR-TV reports. Calls to the bar Thursday morning weren’t returned.

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo said Wednesday the state will begin more aggressive enforcement on businesses that continue to ignore the state’s virus regulations.

The agency said state inspectors warned the restaurant of multiple violations on a number of occasions in recent weeks. It said restaurant staff weren’t wearing face coverings while within six feet of customers and that the bar was being used for seating and service even though that’s not currently allowed in Rhode Island.

Inspectors also found the bar had no physical barrier between the bartender, customers and customers were allowed to sit close together at the bar and the restaurant had taken down posters on social distancing and face coverings that the state requires establishments to display.

The Department of Business Regulation website lists seven other establishments facing possible sanction for non-compliance.