License Board Hammers home Seriousness of social Distancing

The Everett License Board has taken a firm stand this week at meetings and in a general letter regarding the importance of social distancing and COVID-19 protocols at the City’s restaurant, bar and brewery establishments.

For the first time ever, the License Board agenda was dominated with complaints that had come from the public to the Mayor’s Office regarding establishments that allegedly weren’t practicing social distancing. With Everett still a ‘red’ community by Gov. Charlie Baker’s measuring metrics, Licensing Chair Phil Antonelli said they would be asking all establishments to close at 11 p.m. and to tighten up their oversight of COVID-19 rules.

“Every complaint we get about social distancing is taken seriously,” said Antonelli at the Board’s Monday meeting. “Everett is in a red zone and the mayor and his administration are very, very concerned. I’m not saying just one place…Whomever it may be – across the board – the mayor is committed to making sure the numbers go down. As much as restaurants are hurting right now, if you can’t adhere to the social distance protocols put out by the governor, we are going to shut you down. I’m saying this across the board to everyone and a letter will go out to everyone this week.”

On Monday, Lafania Bar & Grill (18 Beacham St.), Lafinca Bar & Restaurant (37 Norwood St.) and Braza Grill (158 School St.) were called in to the Board to discuss complaints about their social distancing. Last month, Champions Bar & Grill on Ferry Street was written up by the State Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) for its alleged lack of protocols – which was discussed at the License Board at that time.

At Lafania, the owner said it was a disgruntled patron he had turned away because the capacity of 30 persons was in effect.

“I’m down to six tables and two high-tops,” said the owner. “I’ve been taking this very seriously. I’m sorry, but I think someone is disgruntled…There’s no dancing allowed and no standing around and no standing at the bar. I have a guy at the door counting people.”

Lafinca, however, has been an issue in complaints to the Board and in trouble with neighbors.

Councilor Michael McLaughlin said he has received several complaints and concerns from neighbors about how the business is being operated at the moment.

“They are concerned about what they’re seeing and the way this business is performing right now,” said McLaughlin.

Braza Grill had complaints logged to the Mayor’s Office, and also pictures of improper social distancing taking place. However, it appears claims of live music in the establishment were unfounded, as Everett Police did a walk-thru inspection recently and there was no live music.

Braza already has a mandated closing hour of 11 p.m., so Antonelli told the owner he needed to tighten up his policies and oversight of social distancing. Antonelli referred to the submitted photos showing people in the restaurant without using masks properly and such.

•Night Shift looks at making wine

Night Shift Brewery on Santilli Highway put in a request to the Board for a Farmer’s Pouring permit expansion, an expansion to their permit that would allow them to also pour wine at their brewery.

The request also asked for the ability to extend their outdoor seating to another area of their parking lot.

“We want to make the parking lot space licensed for pouring, in addition we are looking for wine pouring on site – wine that we hope to produce,” said Night Shift owners.

There were few other details about the successful breweries expansion into the wine market, but it isn’t new for them. Last year they introduced an expansion into gourmet roasted coffee – which they roast at their Chelsea location and serve in their Boston Lovejoy Wharf tap room.

The wine venture appears to be slated for Everett only right now.

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