Alabama ABC suspends Homewood bar over pandemic health violations

Local News

HOMEWOOD, Ala. (AP/WIAT) — State regulators have suspended the alcohol license of a Birmingham-area bar over alleged violations of the state’s pandemic health order.

A spokesman for Alabama’s ABC Board says the action against Grocery Brewpub in Homewood is the first such state case under COVID-19 rules for not complying with mask enforcement, social distancing, or capacity guidelines.

Photos shared recently on social media showed people packed into the bar on Saturday night.

Regulators accused the business of violating rules about face mask requirements, occupancy limits, and social distancing. The ABC Board said during its investigation, law enforcement officers joined during their visit, as there were minors at the bar, drinking alcohol.

A hearing is expected in April, and the owner of the bar says he looks forward to addressing the situation and providing a safe environment in the future.

Health professionals say behavior like this is concerning in a pandemic.

“Is it okay to be packed in like sardines during a pandemic? Maybe if there was a tornado and it was the only place you could find safety and shelter,” said Dr. Amy Bentley.

Dr. Bentley, a board-certified internist said regardless of COVID fatigue, people need to stay vigilant during a pandemic.

“The worst part is to get to the 25th mile of a marathon, then decide it’s not really worth it to finish… I just chuckle to myself every time someone says I’m afraid of the COVID vaccine. And I always extend an invitation and say I’ll gladly take you to the ICU and let you be afraid of COVID.”

CBS 42 reached out to the Grocery Brewpub owner for additional comments and has not received a response. The bar posted to its Facebook page, accepting donations for their employees, now out of work.

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