Homewood bar has liquor license suspended after violating COVID-19 guidelines

Local bar violates COVID guidelines

HOMEWOOD, Ala. (WBRC) - A bar in Homewood right now cannot sell alcohol because state regulators say it violated COVID-19 guidelines.

The Grocery Brewpub received an “emergency suspension” of its liquor license after ABC Board inspectors witnessed COVID-19 violations multiple times.

A spokesperson from the ABC Board declined to speak on camera but confirmed the board received several complaints about the Grocery Brewpub’s failure to follow COVID-19 guidelines. Board inspectors visited the pub and said it was extremely crowded, patrons were not practicing social distancing and very few people were wearing masks.

“We’re coming up on a point where we’re going to be in the safe zone. I think if everything continues as it is that there’s a real possibility that things are going to be much closer to normal and I just don’t want us to lose all this ground that we’ve gained,” said Dr. Wesley Willeford, Medical Director of Disease Control with the Jefferson County Department of Health.

We’re told ABC Board inspectors met with Rayford Cook, the owner of the business, to warn him about the violations. When the inspectors returned last Friday, they witnessed the same violations and subsequently suspended the bar’s liquor license.

“I really encourage everyone, please continue to wear a mask, please continue to kind of keep your distance out in public and please continue to try to avoid these large events,” said Dr. Willeford. “I think that’s the best thing that we can do to keep us safe and get us safely over the finish line with COVID-19.”

Inspectors say they also witnessed minors drinking alcohol, which also contributed to the bar’s shutdown.

The “emergency suspension” remains in place until a hearing can be scheduled.

We reached out to Cook for a statement but he was unavailable for comment.

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