State shuts down four bars in Waterbury this weekend - WFSB 3 Connecticut


State shuts down four bars in Waterbury this weekend

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The Stadium was one of four bars forced to close down over the weekend (WFSB) The Stadium was one of four bars forced to close down over the weekend (WFSB)

The drinks have stopped flowing at two local bars after the state's Department of Labor shut them down in a late night raid.

This happened at several bars on Friday throughout Waterbury.

The Stadium is open and they say they really shouldn't have been shut down like the others, and because they were, thousands were lost this weekend.

That establishment was packed on Friday night with people ready to see Jamaican artist Serani.

Instead, they saw officials from the state's Department of Labor and Liquor Commission.

“Random. Stopped business and came in to inspect,” said Michael Edwards, owner of The Stadium.

He was one of four bars that were told to shut down after random inspections turned up violations.

“People coming in the parking lot turned around and left. With social media, they all text their friends and we probably lost 100 people,” Edwards said.

While he said no liquor violations were found, there were labor ones, particularly when it came to the security hired for the show. The state says he misrepresented what should have been employees as independent contractors.

“I hired one security officer who said he'll bring in five guys. Five guys who were going to come in,” Edwards said.

The state also hit The Stadium for not having workers comp but Edwards says the insurance simply lapsed and it was an honest mistake.

“I called my insurance company and it was rectified in two hours, by 10 a.m. Saturday morning,” Edwards said.

He had the proof, resulting in the state sending a notice on Monday, allowing him to reopen Monday night, but he says the lasting damage has already been done.

“How does a small business who is just scraping by to survive, get past all that negative publicity,” Edwards said.

Eyewitness News went to check out the others Monday night and saw Scruples on Watertown Avenue and Prestige on East Main still closed with notices posted in the windows.

The Brass House on South Main was open, and a worker said it was a misunderstanding, but no one wanted to comment further.

Edwards, however, isn't shying away, saying he's hoping the state would try to be sensitive to local owners.

“The state's in a wild deficit and we're paying overtime to come out and make sure there's an insurance policy in place when it can be rectified during business hours,” Edwards said.

Right now, no fines have been levied, but Edwards says even though he's cleared everything up, he's expecting them soon and is ready to appeal.

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