Multiple Silver Spring restaurants cited for allowing dancing, billards

Restaurants in Silver Spring cited for allowing dancing, billiards despite COVID-19 limits

County orders recreation facility in Rockville to shut down

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Montgomery County’s health department cited multiple businesses last weekend for violating the county’s COVID-19 restrictions. Among the violators were restaurants in Silver Spring that allowed dancing and billiards.

  • Fire Station 1 Restaurant at 8131 Georgia Ave. in downtown Silver Spring was inspected on Sept. 19. According to an inspection report, there was live music, people were dancing in the dining area without social distancing and customers weren’t wearing masks.

“It seems that the area/facility is over capacity,” the report said.

The report states that the restaurant’s manager was told to close the restaurant and submit a plan of corrective action on how it will enforce the county’s mask requirement and “stop the dancing.”

Fire Station 1 owner Amy Hurowitz told Bethesda Beat Thursday evening that everyone was wearing masks except the musical performers.

“Whoever’s singing doesn’t wear the masks,” she said.

Hurowitz said the restaurant reopened on Monday after she submitted a plan to the county promising to better maintain social distancing.

“We can’t have any live bands or anything. Nobody can dance,” she said.

County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles lifted restrictions on live entertainment earlier this month, but social distancing restrictions still apply.

  • El Caracol Café at 609 Sligo Ave. in Silver Spring was inspected on Sept. 19, and was given a warning when inspectors saw customers playing billiards, according to the report. Additionally, an employee was not properly wearing his mask to cover his nose, the report stated.

A future violation at El Caracol would carry a fine of up to $500, the report stated.

An El Caracol employee declined to comment to Bethesda Beat.

  • Plan B Bar and Grill at 11272 Georgia Ave. in Wheaton was given a warning for not maintaining social distancing, allowing dancing and because some employees’ masks weren’t covering their noses during its inspection on Sept. 19. A repeat offense could lead to a $500 fine, the report states.
  • The recreational business Rockville Escape Room at 120 Derwood Circle was ordered to close on Sept. 18 when county inspectors came. According to the report, the facility must remain closed under the county’s current health order because it is designated an “escape room.” The report states that the business had been told once in an email that it must stay closed.

No one from Plan B or Rockville escape room could be reached for comment on Thursday.

The violations from last weekend are the latest in a series that have occurred in the county throughout the pandemic.

Montgomery County Licensure and Regulatory Services Senior Administrator Clark Beil wrote in an email on Monday to Kenneth Welch, the county’s environmental health manager, that Gayles and County Executive Marc Elrich are interested in documenting repeat offenders in a spreadsheet.

“The argument the community and county council is giving Marc is that we should trust people to comply. Travis and Marc are trying to document that a certain group has been given the chance and can’t be trusted,” Beil wrote.

Dan Schere can be reached at daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com

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