Syracuse, N.Y. – A game of darts led to a $1,000 fine for a Manlius bar Saturday night during a sweep by Onondaga County to enforce coronavirus regulations in the wake of rising virus cases.
Buffoons Tavern at 107 E. Seneca Street was the only establishment to get fined among 50 visited by inspectors over the Halloween weekend, county officials said.
A man who answered the phone Monday at Buffoons declined to give his name but said he was the owner. He said he was unaware of the rule against darts games and will dispute the fine.
“I don’t think it was fair,” he said.
State health officials have banned darts, pool, and other “games of amusement” in bars, among other restrictions aimed at preventing close contact among people during the pandemic.
County Executive Ryan McMahon ordered beefed up enforcement Friday and Saturday out of concern that the novel coronavirus is spreading with increased speed, especially at bars, restaurants and other gathering places. County inspectors visits 25 restaurants and bars each night, he said.
Since the pandemic began, 25 businesses have been fined by the county, typically for failing to enforce mask-wearing or social distancing rules. Forty-four other companies have received formal warnings, but no fines. (See list below.)
Club 11 in Salina was fined $1,000 Friday for exceeding its capacity limit and for failing to enforce mask wearing and social distancing, county officials said. But the fine was for an event that took place earlier this month, said Justin Sayles, speaking for McMahon. County officials were unable to locate the owner until Friday, Sayles said.
Syracuse.com published a list Oct. 12 of all the businesses that had been fined or warned for coronavirus violations. Since then, five new locations have been fined.
In addition to Buffoons and Club 11, they include the McDonald’s Restaurant at 721 Seventh North St., Liverpool ($1,000 fine related to mask wearing); Moondance Restaurant, 2512 Cherry Valley Turnpike, Marcellus ($1,000 fine related to mask wearing, social distancing and exceeding capacity); and Trappers Bar, 1140 Morgan Road, Memphis ($1,000 fine related to mask wearing and social distancing).
The county also has issued warnings – but not fines — to six additional businesses since mid-October. Warnings are sometimes based on complaints from the public that are not verified by county inspectors.
Onondaga County is charged with policing compliance with the state’s evolving rules of business operation during a pandemic. County workers winnow through hundreds of complaints from the public, trying to target only the most serious cases for warnings and fines.
Most of the companies fined by the county thus far have appealed. Eight of the 24 businesses fined have paid so far. They include Home Depot ($4,000 for four locations); Bada Bing strip club ($1,000); Green Planet Grocery ($1,000); Trapper’s Bar ($1,000); and Walmart ($1,000 paid out of $4,000 fined for four locations).
County officials also issued a shut-down order to at least one business, Salt City Billiards, of Mattydale.