Courtesy photo New Hampshire Attorney General's Office: This photo taken of the interior of Grumpy's Bar and Grill on Nov. 13
Grumpy’s Bar & Grill in Plaistow has been fined $1,500 by the New Hampshire Attorney General's office for COVID-19 safety violations.
The civil penalty fine follows the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services identifying three different positive cases of COVID-19 associated with the bar and pool table areas of Grumpy’s, traced back to the evenings of Tuesday, Nov. 10, and Saturday, Nov. 14.
According to a letter from Associate Attorney General Anne Edwards to Richard Leclaire, the owner of Grumpy's, the bar and grill violated an emergency order from the governor's office by allowing employees to work without masks, by not keeping tables six feet apart and for permitting customers to "stand/mingle" in the bar area.
According to the letter, which was sent on Nov. 24, Plaistow's health officer had reached out to Leclaire via email four times — on May 13, July 24, July 25, and Aug. 10 — informing him of New Hampshire's guidelines and "to specifically highlight the face covering and social distancing requirements."
The letter states that when an officer from the Plaistow Police Department visited Grumpy's, at 20 Plaistow Road on Nov. 14, he "observed only one person in the bar - a bartender - wearing a face covering. The officer's observations were consistent with a photograph sent to the Health Office on Nov. 13...which clearly shows overcrowding, standing and mingling in the bar area, no social distancing between tables and no face coverings."
Leclaire said that he wasn’t present in the establishment when the violations took place and that his restaurant became “inundated with customers” after Massachusetts shut down their restaurants at 9:30 p.m.
“No one knew what to do or how to handle anything and people have been overrunning things and we have new measures in place to take control of the public with the masks and distancing and the other New Hampshire mandates,” Leclaire said.
He said he has hired two people on a part-time basis to monitor mask-wearing and social distancing at the establishment.
The state is requiring Leclaire to pay the fine by Dec. 8.