The owner of an Irish pub in Southern California faces 90 days in jail or a fine for allegedly opening on St. Patrick’s Day despite coronavirus lockdown orders in the city, according to a report.
The Los Angeles Times reported Thursday that the South Pasadena pub called Griffin’s of Kinsale is accused of opening its doors on March 17 after the city banned dine-in service at restaurants. The paper said that Joseph Patrick Griffin, 56, the owner, was charged with a misdemeanor of allegedly disregarding the city’s order.
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“On March 17, during the order mandating the closing of bars that did not serve food and other non-essential businesses, the bar allegedly opened its doors, served customers and offered live entertainment,” prosecutors said in a statement.
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Eater LA reported that video emerged on social media that showed a large crowd outside the pub and live music. The South Pasadena News reported that Griffin said he did not pay attention to media reports on the rapidly spreading virus and was busy preparing for the holiday.
“Griffin didn’t imagine that before the holiday was over, he would be in anguish over the future of his business, critics would call for the revocation of his license, or that the Health Department would show up just before sunset and persuade him to voluntarily shut the festivities down at once,” the report said.
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The Times said Griffin did not respond for its report. ToddStarnes.com called the pub on Thursday but there was no answer. The Times reported that he told the paper in the past that he was unaware of the city’s orders.
“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,” he told the L.A. Times.
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Business owners in California have been critical of the state’s lockdown orders due to the coronavirus. The Times reported that commenters on social media were critical of the bar for opening its doors and putting the community at risk for further infection.
“You put the community at risk for money,” read one post.