WASHINGTON — A bar in Northeast, D.C. that repeatedly refused to enforce the city’s new vaccine card entry requirement is being referred to the DC Attorney General’s Office for possible suspension of its liquor license, effectively shutting down the business.
On Wednesday, the District’s Alcoholic Beverage Control Board voted to refer The Big Board on H Street to the District’s Office of the Attorney General to draft a Summary Suspension Notice, according to Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration spokesperson Jared Powell.
The action comes after an ABRA inspector found violations to the city’s indoor mask mandate and vaccine card entry requirement during four separate inspections over six days in January.
On Friday, Jan. 14, the inspector issued a verbal warning to the establishment for failure to require face masks. On Jan. 15, 18 and 20 inspectors returned, each time finding The Big Board was not requiring customers to show proof of vaccination, as required by a new law that went into effect for all bars, restaurants gyms and movie theaters on Jan. 15.
A Go Fund Me with the purpose of “fighting against vaccine mandates in Washington DC” has raised nearly $15,000 as of Thursday to pay that fine and others for The Big Board defying the order.
It was started by Harry Rodgers, a senior Congressional Correspondent for the Daily Caller, a right-wing news and opinion website co-founded by Tucker Carlson.
WUSA9 asked Eric Flannery, The Big Board’s owner/manager, why the bar was refusing to check customers' vaccination status, but he declined to comment. In addressing the controversy on its Twitter page, The Big Board thanked its supporters and wrote, “All Are Welcome.”
Some customers of the bar have already voiced their displeasure via Twitter.
Since the vaccine card entry mandate went into effect, the Alcohol Beverage Regulation Administration or ABRA has already issued warnings to at least six different bars or restaurants for not checking vaccination verification.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser described ABRA's work as "proactive," saying they are in and out of establishments nightly to verify that businesses are enforcing mandates, rather than just waiting for a complaint to respond to.
"I'd like the business to comply, and we don't want to shut anybody down," Bowser said. "And that's how we've approached this throughout this ... pandemic. We want to give people support advice, supplies, help, whatever they need. But we do need them to follow the regulations."