Only on 12: Some restaurants are not complying with takeout-only rules

A News 12 investigation shows that some restaurants are openly violating COVID-19 guidelines put in place by Gov. Ned Lamont to stop the spread of the virus.

News 12 Staff

May 7, 2020, 9:23 PM

Updated 1,441 days ago

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A News 12 investigation shows that some restaurants are openly violating COVID-19 guidelines put in place by Gov. Ned Lamont to stop the spread of the virus.
News 12 was watching earlier this month as Tony's Huntington Inn in Bridgeport had a customer inside for more than an hour. Another couple dined there for more than two hours.
When reporter John Craven came to the Inn, he was served a meal of pasta and two beers inside the bar. He then confronted the co-owners of the bar.
"I thought you were starving. I can't refuse anybody who's starving. You tricked me," said a woman who identified herself as the co-owner.
The co-owners say they were following the law because there were only five people inside. However, Gov. Lamont had said that the law requiring just takeout food is “strict.”
So far, the state Department of Consumer Protection has received 72 complaints about indoor dining violations.
Norwalk police cited Dry Dock Bar and Grille for serving a customer beer inside. Owner Don Mastronardi says that it has not been “operating like a normal bar since the shutdown” and classified it as a one-time mistake.
He says the customer was waiting for takeout food and when the beer was served.
“We were in the wrong for that and I want to make it very clear to the police department and anybody out there that the police did nothing wrong,” he told News 12.
Back at Tony's Huntington Inn, the owner claimed Bridgeport police have visited several times, but only did a cursory investigation. A city spokesperson says they have referred News 12’s questions "to the appropriate departments."
State officials say they are more interested in getting restaurants to comply with the rules instead of punishing them. But if there's a pattern, the restaurant could lose its liquor license.
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