PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has suspended the license of a southern Oregon bar that officials say violated restrictions put in place to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Cave Junction’s Sportsman Tavern is the first Oregon establishment to have its license suspended for allegedly defying an executive order that bans on-premise food or drink consumption, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.
Business owner Kim Sanders told The Associated Press that the bar has not been open and that he was not trying to violate the order.
The suspension happened Friday after an Oregon Liquor Control Commission inspector on Thursday checked out a citizen tip, agency spokesperson Mark Pettinger said.
The inspector discreetly parked and observed people going in and out of the building, Pettinger said. The inspector went inside, Pettinger said, and there were drinks at the bar.
The suspension is in effect indefinitely and can be challenged by the licensee. Sanders said on Tuesday that the bar has been closed since mid-March and that his employees were there cleaning, painting and generally revamping it while maintaining social distancing standards.
“We are law-abiding citizens,” he said, adding that when the inspector showed up his employees were finished for the day and sitting apart having pizza and a drink. “I’m trying to go by this (order) and I dearly, dearly care about people. I would never try to do anything that would hurt anybody.” He plans to challenge the license suspension.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission is also investigating other alleged violations of Gov. Kate Brown’s executive order, Pettinger said.