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City of New Haven orders closure of 50’s Lounge for violating COVID-19 ordinances; over 1,000 people witnessed on-premises Saturday night

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – The 50’s Lounge on Fitch Street in New Haven was issued a closure order for violating numerous state rules and city ordinances for COVID-19 precautions.

According to a release from Mayor Justin Elicker’s office Monday, New Haven City Officials received numerous complaints Saturday night about activity at the establishment in the Westville neighborhood.

An estimated one thousand individuals were on the premises upon inspection by the City Director of Public Health Maritza Bond, Building Inspector Jim Turcio, and members of the New Haven Fire Department and New Haven Police Department.

“I first arrived on-site as part of the inspection conducted by the task force, and witnessed over one thousand patrons at this establishment in violation of the outdoor dining capacity guidelines, State rules for outdoor events, and various health codes,” Building Inspector Jim Turcio stated. “We spoke to the owners of this establishment and made a request that they shut down immediately, with which they did not comply, and we had no choice but to shut them down as a result of these violations.”

“I want to remind residents of the city that we are still in a pandemic,” stated Health Director Bond. “Taking the necessary health precautions is critical to containing the spread of COVID-19, which continues to pose a serious threat to public health in our community. Nonetheless, this incident revealed this establishment was in clear violation of various health codes, and conditions of zoning approval, not just those related to the restrictions put in place due to the pandemic.”

The owner told News 8, she shut down when asked to do so by the Health Department and could not control the crowd that congregated in the parking lot outside.

Joy Monsanto, 50’s Lounge owner explained, “There wasn’t a thousand people in the establishment. There may have been people sprinkled throughout the parking lot. But there was no one on my side.”

The Health Director has issued a cease and desist letter to the owners of the 50’s Lounge LLC, also known as 50 Fitch. Health Director Bond alleged numerous violations, including the following:

  • Failing to ensure that all attendees at a large outdoor public gathering at your establishment remained at least six feet apart, failing to ensure that said attendees were wearing masks except when dining, failing to demarcate six feet of spacing in the area of gathering
  • Permitting the sale of alcohol without the sale of food
  • Outdoor dining in excess of seating capacity
  • Permitting a public health nuisance on your property
  • Operating in excess of 50% capacity on an outside deck
  • Operating in violation of Connecticut General Statutes 19-13-B42 and Title III, Chapter 14 of the New Haven Code of General Ordinances
  • Creating a condition specifically declared to be a public nuisance

50’s was named by the city during the early stages of the pandemic for an alleged issue with crowds.

The owners of the 50’s Lounge had filed a lawsuit against Governor Lamont and Mayor Elicker back in mid-April, challenging the validity of COVID-19 shutdown measures.

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