Penalties for bars and restaurants not complying with COVID-19 guidelines

Local News

SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – As bars and restaurants continue to close across the country for a second time, Siouxlanders still have the opportunity to visit their favorite spots.

But, effective Thursday, penalties are in place for establishments who are not complying with COVID-19 guidelines.

This comes after the Alcoholic Beverages Division said they’ve received an increase in complaints.

“Nobody wants to be shut down again and we definitely don’t want to lose our liquor license so we’re going to make sure we’re going to maintain what we’re doing and hope that the rest of Sioux City follows behind it,” Jzar Templin, tap room manager for Marto Brewing CO., said.

He said they’re still taking every precaution, like limiting guest capacity and even switching to online ordering, instead of a physical menu. Templin adds that the penalties are fair.

“We’re getting a chance to kind of do our part and not be shut down. I think that’s awesome from the state of Iowa to be able to give everybody a chance to redeem themselves if they’re not following the practices,” Templin added.

Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division or ABD and the Department of Inspections and Appeals will mandate businesses to comply with COVID-19 guidelines.

In a statement to KCAU 9, the ABD said:

“When ABD receives a complaint, our team determines if an investigation is warranted. If so, we open an investigation and work to find the facts of the case which may include visiting the establishment… We are increasing these inspections with this enforcement initiative. We may work with local law enforcement as needed.”

For businesses with an alcoholic beverage permit or license, a $1,000 fine will be issued for a first offense.

A second violation will result in a 7-day suspension of their license, and the third strike, businesses will lose their food and liquor license.

“At least they’re giving you a warning if something does happen to be wrong when someone comes in,” Stacy Johnson, manager of Rebos in downtown Sioux City, said.

She adds that they’re not worried about the new penalties.

“We honestly haven’t had an issue with having too many people in one spot… We do have less tables and we’ve taken our tables and put them off to the side so there’s less of a crowd in here but we’re ok with it for now,” Johnson said.

The penalties go into effect immediately, and if an Iowa business loses its license, it might have to wait sometime before re-applying.

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