The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division has filed complaints against six businesses in four cities for violating the COVID-19 social distancing rules in the governor’s emergency proclamation.
IABD lawyer, Lolani Lekkas says they meet with the business owners and try to reach a settlement. “Walk through any questions they have with regard to the complaint and at that point in time any of our work product that’s associated with that complaint can be shared with them to kind of show them where we get to the possibility of a violation that we believe we have found,” Lekkas says.
Lekkas says they have to use the guidelines set forth by the governor that gradually move up — starting with three checks of a business.
“Three strikes if you will, a thousand dollar penalty, and then the second finding would be a seven-day suspension I believe — and then I believe she had mentioned revocations,” Lekkas says. She says the IABD administrator has given them the leeway to do both the $1,000 penalty and license suspension.
“I myself have not seen anything egregious enough to warrant more than a thousand dollar fine,” she says. IABD reported they’d received some 300 reports of violations — but Lekkas says not all of them end up being acted upon. “What actually filters through and becomes a complaint has been smaller. And we are very happy about that compared to the number of inspections that have been done,” Lekkas says. And she says the majority of businesses are following the guidelines as laid out.
Lekkas says the business can choose to decline a settlement. “After such time as a settlement isn’t agreed to, then the licensee has the right to a hearing by an impartial person who will decide the merits of the case,” according to Lekkas.
Lekkas says they want people to continue reporting issues they find. “We do get a lot of information from the public that doesn’t amount to a complaint — but obviously we do want to know if someone isn’t happy with where they have been — and they feel that their health, safety, and welfare has been compromised,” Lekkas says.
Here are the businesses facing complaints:
Bo-James in Iowa City, Cube Ultra Lounge in Council Bluffs, Xcaret Club and Lounge in West Des Moines, Shotgun Betty’s in West Des Moines, Knights of Pythias – Furgerson Lodge #5 in Waterloo, Edo’s Sports Bar in Waterloo.