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Bar shutdown for virus-rule violations

HONOLULU (AP) — A Honolulu bar has been closed by officials after they said it repeatedly failed to comply with COVID-19 regulations.

The Honolulu Liquor Commission on Tuesday shut down Tapas Restaurant & Wine Bar in Honolulu for 24 hours after investigators discovered Saturday night that the bar was crowded with “absolutely no social distancing occurring,” according to a statement from the commission.

Inspectors had received a tip from a person who called a 24-hour complaint line set up to report potential public health violations, the statement said.

Most of the bar’s 120 or so patrons were not wearing masks when inspectors visited, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Tuesday.

The event marked the second time that the liquor commission has closed a bar accused of skirting coronavirus-related regulations.

Cafe Gangnam in Honolulu was shut down earlier.

The Star-Advertiser reported that representatives of Tapas Restaurant & Wine Bar were not immediately available for comment.

Bars were allowed to reopen in Honolulu on June 19.

They are required to ensure 6 feet of social distancing between patrons, use less than half of their maximum occupancy and require patrons to wear masks.

Bars are also not allowed to sell alcohol past midnight following a July 14 decree by Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell.

“It is in everyone’s best interest to reduce the spread of this virus,” Caldwell said in a statement. “While businesses are suffering right now, many will not survive another shutdown. Responsible behavior will allow businesses to remain open, and will keep their patrons safe.”

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks.

But for some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.