AN IRISH pub owner in the US is facing up to 90 days in jail or a $1,000 fine after defying coronavirus shutdown orders to open on St. Patrick’s Day.
Griffin’s of Kinsale in South Pasadena opened its doors to customers celebrating Ireland’s Patron Saint on March 17, despite Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti issuing an order prohibiting restaurants from serving dine-in food just two days earlier.
The ensuing commemorations drew an angry response from local residents who were quick to take to social media to bemoan the ongoing festivities.
South Pasadena police visited the venue three times throughout the course of the day, first at 12:48pm to warn the owner, Joseph Patrick Griffin, that the venue could only serve takeout and delivery.
By 3:08 p.m., police had returned to issue the pub, where the party continued, with a health and safety code citation.
Finally, at 7pm, officers made a third visit in the company of a representative from the LA County Department of Public Safety.
Another citation was issued on this final visit before Mr. Griffin decided to shut the party down.
The one bar in South Pasadena, Griffins next to the train station, was having a Saint Patrick’s day party. I opened the door and screamed at them that they were all sh!tty horrible people. The cops with County Health came 5 minutes later to shut them down. pic.twitter.com/ePYMoSJsf5
— Josh (@JalbyMD) March 18, 2020
The LA County district attorney’s office has since confirmed that Mr. Griffin has been charged with a misdemeanor for allegedly violating the coronavirus order.
“During the order mandating the closing of bars that did not serve food and other nonessential businesses, the bar allegedly opened its doors, served customers and offered live entertainment,” Public Information Officer Ricardo Santiago said.
Speaking to the LA Times, Mr Griffin insisted customers were told to make takeout orders rather than eating on the premises.
“I didn’t hear any complaints until the day of, and I firmly believe those came from other area businesses and from a few people determined to shut us down.”
However, the decision to open the bar, which had originally been set to host an all-you-can-eat Irish breakfast and two live bands, drew criticism from followers on the restaurant’s Facebook page.
“You put the community at risk for money,” one wrote.
“This is exactly why all of these hard decisions were made ... to prevent people from potentially spreading Covid-19,” another said.