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TRENTON – Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal announced today that a Wildwood bar charged with repeatedly violating restrictions placed on eating and drinking establishments during the COVID-19 pandemic has agreed to have its license to serve alcohol suspended for the entire summer in a settlement reached with the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (“ABC”).
Shamrock Beef and Ale (“Shamrock”), located on Pacific Avenue, will cease serving alcohol from May 1 through September 30, 2021, under a settlement between the ABC and Tommy G’s Shamrock, LLC (“Tommy G’s”), the entity that holds the bar’s liquor license. Two other venues operating under the Tommy’ G’s license at that location – Castaway’s Pirate Bar and Club Amnesia – must also cease serving alcohol during the suspension period.
The settlement resolves charges stemming from two COVID-19 compliance inspections conducted by the Wildwood Police Department in November 2020 and one conducted by the ABC in March 2021, which found numerous breaches of COVID-19 executive orders, including repeated violations of social distancing requirements and the then-10 p.m. curfew on indoor food and drink services.
The infractions uncovered during the ABC’s inspection on March 3, 2021 occurred just two days after Shamrock finished serving a 100-day license suspension imposed by the ABC for the bar’s prior COVID-19 violations.
“The significant suspension we’re announcing today sends a clear message that flouting COVID-19 public health measures will not be tolerated,” said Attorney General Grewal. “As the weather warms up, ABC will be keeping a close eye on clubs, bars, and restaurants that attract summer crowds to make certain they’re doing their part to ensure patrons are enjoying themselves safely.”
The settlement between the ABC and Tommy G’s also requires the licensee to terminate its current management team and also to acknowledge that the venue “Club Amnesia” is an indoor facility subject to indoor operations requirements imposed under Executive Order No. 163 (2020) and appropriate New Jersey Department of Health guidelines.
Since declaring a COVID-19 public health emergency in March 2020, Governor Murphy has signed a series of executive orders aimed at reducing the spread of the virus by limiting and restricting activities in eating and drinking establishments across the State.
Those orders have (at one time or another) required establishments to: limit their services to take out only; cease all indoor service of food and alcohol at 10 p.m.; limit the number of patrons allowed in indoor areas; enforce face covering mandates for employee and patrons; prohibit the consumption of food and alcohol by patrons seated at a bar and/or not seated at a table; maintain a six-foot minimum distance between dining tables; limit the number of patrons at a table to eight; and enforce social distancing among employees and patrons.
Beginning in May 2020, Shamrock racked up a dozen ABC charges for violating those orders.
“As a result of its blatant and continued disregard for ABC regulations and the law, Shamrock Beef and Ale has lost the privilege of serving alcohol during the busy summer months,” said James Graziano, Director of the Alcoholic Beverage Control. “We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, compliance with COVID-19 executive orders is a requirement, not an option. Public safety is paramount to the ABC and we will continue to hold accountable any establishment whose failure to comply threatens the health of its patrons and the public at large.”
The ABC has initiated enforcement actions against 264 establishments in response to COVID-19 related violations by licensees dating back to March 2020. Those actions have delivered warnings, and sought fines, license suspensions, and license revocations.
For the latest information on executive orders and regulations pertaining to sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages during the COVID-19 state of emergency, visit the ABC’s website at https://www.njoag.gov/about/divisions-and-offices/division-of-alcoholic-beverage-control-home/