Tavern spawns dozens of health complaints as some worry Pierce County destined for Phase 1 rollback

Concerned citizens are repeatedly alerting state regulating agencies about local businesses flouting phased reopening guidelines.

Hundreds of tipsters in the South Sound reported similar concerns just within the past few weeks.

As Pierce County recently fell back into Phase 2, a combination of rising virus infections and the perception that some businesses are avoiding health guidelines has led some to worry a rollback to Phase 1 might be all but inevitable.

On Wednesday the county revealed 233 new infections over the past 24 hours. Should the trajectory of growing cases continue, it’s possible Pierce County could roll back yet again.

Neighbors complain An American Tavern in downtown Tacoma has repeatedly flaunting capacity restrictions.

"I just wish they would be good human beings," said neighbor Jennifer Braveboy.

RELATED: Vaccine demand down in parts of Washington state, cases rise

Braveboy shared a video she shot of the bar’s outdoor seating area strewn with empty beer bottles and debris. The tavern is only open a couple of nights a week, but neighbors said it's often packed beyond guideline capacity limits.

"I don’t want to be in the crossfire in this," said another neighbor who asked their identity to be concealed.

The state Liquor and Cannabis Board fined An American Tavern $500 last month for a 2020 incident.

In total, 55 complaints have been filed against the bar with the agency alleging violations to the phased reopening guidelines – 17 of those came in just last weekend.

"They’ve stayed open unless they were fined," said Braveboy. "They have huge crowds, no mask and leave a huge mess all around."

RELATED: Snohomish County likely moving back a phase May 2 as COVID cases, hospitalizations rise

Q13 News repeatedly tried reaching the owners of An American Tavern to seek comment, but they did not immediately reply.

A sign on the front door of the tavern claims people shared their love on Yelp. While some comments were positive, others not so much. One person complained about a lack of facemasks and another said it’s a place to visit for those looking to catch COVID-19.

One neighbor said the bar now brings in a crowd from outside of downtown, which means the facility is filled with customers who don’t care to follow pandemic guidelines.

As many businesses do what they can to move back to Phase 3, some worry businesses like An American Tavern make it harder for everyone. 

"I’m concerned about the outcome," said one neighbor. "Whether it be the phases going back or just people getting sick, I’m concerned."

Making sure businesses operate within phased restrictions is top of mind of a lot of families. Between mid-March through mid-April, about 300 complaints were filed with the state just in Pierce County alone.

As for An American Tavern, the WSLCB said it could issue an emergency summary suspension of the business' license if it concludes the public and employee’s health to be in immediate jeopardy.

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