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Varsity Tavern allegedly had employees who tested positive for COVID-19 keep working

The Department of Liquor Licenses says its investigation has confirmed that employees or managers who tested positive were required or permitted to keep working.

TEMPE, Ariz. — Varsity Tavern in Tempe is facing possible suspension of its liquor license after the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control says it confirmed multiple violations by the bar through an investigation.

The Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control has issued a notice of violation to the bar and an opportunity to comply.

Below are the findings of the investigation:

  • Multiple instances where [management] require[ed] or permit[ted] employees and managers known to have tested positive for COVID-19 to continue working
  • [Management] fail[ed] to take appropriate measures to notify the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) or other agencies, employees, or customers that employees who had tested positive had worked while symptomatic
  • [Management] fail[ed] to create and enforce written policies in compliance with Executive Orders and CDC and ADHS guidelines
  • [Management] fail[ed] to enforce social distancing requirements by requiring the wearing of masks or limiting the congregation of groups
  • These instances of noncompliance occurred with the knowledge of Varsity's managerial staff.

The Department of Liquor Licenses says officials received correspondence from Varsity Tavern saying they elected to close business on July 1.

Varsity Tavern's liquor license is now on inactive status. 

RELATED: Life Time Fitness loses liquor license for Biltmore, north Scottsdale locations

"An entity whose license is on inactive status is unable to engage in any alcohol-related business to include placing or receiving orders for stock alcohol, as well as furnishing alcohol in any manner to another," according to the liquor license department.

The director of the Department of Liquor Licenses, John Cocca, says the department will seek to revoke the bar's liquor license.

It's the not the first time the bar has been the subject of serious disciplinary action, according to the department. 

Varsity Tavern entered into a consent agreement to suspend its license in Dec. 2018 and had its license summarily suspended by the Department in July 2019. 

The Department of Liquor Licenses asks anyone with knowledge of the above or similar misconduct is asked to call the Department’s Investigations Division at 602-542-9062 to share information. 

On June 29, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey ordered bars, along with gyms, movie theaters, tubing and water parks to close at 8 p.m. until at least July 27.

The Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses has suspended the liquor licenses for two bars at a Life Time Fitness location in the Biltmore area of Phoenix and one bar at a Life Time Fitness location in north Scottsdale. 

RELATED: Gov. Ducey orders new business closures, school delays to limit spread of coronavirus across Arizona