Five Del. businesses receive fines for COVID violations

DOVER — The Delaware Division of Public Health fined five different establishments in November for violating guidelines put in place to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jamie Mack, the DPH’s chief of health systems protection, said the state has done more than 2,000 on-site compliance checks. These were done at a variety of establishments and events, such as bars, restaurants, offices, football games, schools and community gatherings.

The most common violations, according to Mr. Mack, were lack of appropriate face coverings, social distancing and overcapacity.

“Since we’ve been doing this for so long, we really all should know better by now,” Mr. Mack said. “Everybody knows they should be wearing their face covering. Everybody knows about the 6 feet of distance.”

Only one Downstate establishment received a fine in November, Tom’s Bullpen in Dover. The rest, a Citgo gas station in Wilmington, Grotto Pizza’s Pennsylvania Avenue location in Wilmington, El Maguey Mexican Cuisine & Bar in Wilmington and Sully’s Irish Pub in Middletown, are all located in New Castle County.

Fines administered by the DPH in November ranged from $100 to $500.
“We know what’s allowed at this point and know what’s not allowed,” said Gov. John Carney. “We just need folks to wear a mask when they’re in public, particularly when they can’t keep appropriate social distancing. They need to observe 6-foot social distancing. Business establishments need to work within the limits as part of the executive order. The purpose of it is really to protect the spread of the virus in our community.”

El Maguey Mexican Cuisine & Bar in Wilmington received the largest fine of the month at $500. It was fined $100 per violation during an inspection Nov. 21 — lack of appropriate face coverings among staff and customers, lack of social distancing among customers in line and seats at tables, lack of social distancing among customers in the bar area, lack of contamination protection for to-go containers and lack of floor markings or signage to guide customers in appropriate spacing.

The DPH noted that it and the Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement received multiple complaints with video evidence regarding events at El Maguey Mexican Cuisine & Bar. The establishment was previously inspected in July and was cited for lack of single-use condiments but was not fined for this violation.

Both Sully’s Irish Pub in Middletown and Grotto Pizza’s Pennsylvania Avenue location in Wilmington received $400 fines ($100 per violation) for the same four violations — lack of appropriate face coverings among staff and customers, lack of proper and frequent disinfection, lack of social distancing among customers in the bar area and lack of floor markings or signage to guide customers in appropriate spacing.

Sully’s Irish Pub’s inspection occurred Nov. 13, while Grotto Pizza on Pennsylvania Avenue’s came Nov. 15. The DPH said it previously visited the same Grotto Pizza location Aug. 5, where it observed three violations and provided education to the establishment to assist with compliance.

The fine administered to Tom’s Bullpen in Dover was a result of inspections Nov. 10 and 16. In both inspections, the DPH noted lack of appropriate face coverings among staff and customers, which totaled a $200 fine, $100 for both instances.

The DPH had given Tom’s Bullpen an administrative warning Oct. 26 after reviewing photo evidence taken at the establishment that showed lack of appropriate face coverings and lack of social distancing.

The Citgo gas station in Wilmington was fined after the DPH sent inspectors for a Nov. 9 visit after receiving complaints of noncompliance. The gas station had previously received education to assist with compliance after lack of appropriate face coverings among staff and customers Sept. 29 and Oct. 22.

It eventually received a $100 fine for the Nov. 9 violation.


Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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