JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Every Monday, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board compiles its compliance report for the previous week, and for the week of Nov. 11 to Nov. 29, all businesses inspected were in full compliance.
However, ABC Spokesperson Scott Hardin said not only was last week a holiday week, but the majority of those locations were checked during the day.
“Overall, during the day things seem to be going well, everyone is fully complaint. The trouble normally starts later at night,” Hardin said.
Restaurants, bars and clubs can receive warnings and violations if their employees or even their guests are not in compliance with COVID-19 guidelines. Hardin said it can be as simple as a customer walking in without a mask and the employees don’t say anything to correct it.
As far as the 11 p.m. closing directive, he added he has heard the argument you can get COVID at noon just like you can at midnight, but he says things are different in bar settings at those times.
“The dance floor or bar area packed with a 100 of people on it, social distancing isn’t taking place, masks are not being worn and so it just looks like this could be a super-spreader event. That is a reason for the 11 pm directive. You do not see those same scenarios taken place at 6 pm,” Hardin said.
He said dancing is also prohibited under the current directive.
Hardin said of the 3,200 businesses across the state that are licensed to sell alcohol on site, 700 are bars or clubs that stay open to 2 a.m. and even 5 a.m.
So while their checks were a bit early last week, inspections will be back to normal this week happening throughout the morning and evening.
“Last week was unique but encouraging in that everyone was fully compliant so anytime we see a report with zero violations, zero verbal warnings, we are certainly not complaining, we are certainly appreciative,’ Hardin said.
Hardin expects to see those in non-compliance “to certainly increase” this week.
He also reminded businesses across the state that the learning curve is over and verbal warnings will be limited, meaning violations will increase.