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Old Town Scottsdale nightclub charged for violating COVID-19 regulations

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PHOENIX – An Old Town Scottsdale nightclub was charged Wednesday with violating Arizona regulations designed to combat the spread of COVID-19, authorities said.

The Scottsdale Police Department said Thursday the Riot House failed to enforce its own safety and health policy as required under an executive order by Gov. Doug Ducey.

Officers observed staff and patrons who weren’t wearing face masks or practicing physical distancing protocols.

Police said the Riot House was charged with a class one misdemeanor, and other businesses in the area were being investigated for similar offenses.

Sgt. Ben Hoster told KTAR News 92.3 FM the charge was filed directly with the court, and police did not arrest anybody or write a ticket.

He said officers had delivered education and warnings that Riot House didn’t heed.

Scottsdale night spots have previously been mentioned as examples of businesses where social distancing wasn’t being properly practiced, but this is the first known case where legal action was taken.

Since the charges were announced, several Old Town Scottsdale establishments have announced their intention to close temporarily.

During a press conference Thursday afternoon, Gov. Doug Ducey said Riot House and seven other Scottsdale businesses have been sent final notice to comply by the Department of Liquor Licenses: Bottled Blonde, Pattie’s, Casa Amigos, El Hefe, International, Maya Day Club and Hi-Fi.

“I hope the criminal charges filed here will further encourage these particular businesses to follow the law,” Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane said on Twitter.

Ducey last week announced additional operational requirements for restaurants providing dine-in service, which was permitted to resume last month.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Taylor Kinnerup contributed to this report.

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