Marion County health officials shut down two clubs for COVID-19 violations

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The nightclubs Casba Bar in Broad Ripple and After 6 in downtown Indianapolis have been ordered to close immediately for violating pandemic-related health orders, the Marion County Public Health Department says.

Both businesses have had their licenses suspended for “significant and repeat violations,” the health department said in a statement released on Tuesday.

Officials said both Casba Bar, at 6319 Guilford Ave., and After 6, at 247 S. Meridian St., violated emergency public health orders by not allowing for social distancing, not offering seated service and not enforcing the county’s mask mandate for indoor spaces.

Casba Bar was also found to be in violation of an existing risk-mitigation plan earlier in the month, the health department said.

In addition, After 6 served food using an “illegal, non-licensed caterer,” the health department said.

After 6 manager Cherie Smith, whose husband, Terry Smith, owns the club, called the health department’s actions inaccurate and hurtful. “We run a very safe and clean business.”

Cherie Smith said the health department’s action was based on two videos posted on social media: one from an event that took place last year before pandemic restrictions were in place and another that shows an event that took place last weekend.

At last weekend’s event, patrons briefly rushed the stage to greet the guest DJ, Smith acknowledged, but that lasted for less than 10 minutes and patrons were instructed to return to their tables. The video shows the patrons at the stage, Smith said, but it does not show that patrons were socially distanced the rest of the time.

As for the catering issue, Smith said, After 6 did not realize that its caterers’ license had expired Feb. 28.

IBJ was unable to reach Casba Bar by phone, and an email message to the club was not immediately returned.

To open, After 6 will need to submit a risk-mitigation plan that details how it plans to protect its customers’ health, and Casba Bar will need to submit a new risk mitigation plan, officials said.

“We have worked hard to balance the importance of protecting the health of our residents with protecting our economy, and the decision to close these establishments was not made lightly,” said Dr. Virginia Caine, the health department’s director and chief medical officer, in a prepared statement. “But after these significant and repeat violations, these license suspensions are necessary for the health of our community.”

The orders came after the health department cited Bottleworks District for large crowds over the weekend and a failure to enforce the county’s mask policy.

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17 thoughts on “Marion County health officials shut down two clubs for COVID-19 violations

  1. Coming from first hand experience at an old job, the Marion County Health Department is pretty lax. From first hand experience going out during the pandemic, the Marion County Health Department only wants restaurants to try. These two businesses that got shut down obviously just don’t get a crap.

  2. What is socially distanced? The CDC now says its 3ft, not 6ft. And where did the marvelous 6ft number come from? An Austrian researcher from the 1890s that was investigating Tuberculosis is where. It was a totally arbitrary number, as it is now and the new CDC requirement as well. Use the face temperature equipment that hospitals and now many banks and businesses use. If you have a higher than normal temperature, then something might be wrong. Go get tested and see what is wrong. Marion County/ Indianapolis is making a fool out of itself in front of a national office.

    1. Neil D, back up your conviction that no-social distancing is the right thing to do by patronizing these places.

      Are you willing to take a 10% chance you will be hospitalized.

      I don’t see any over reaction.

    2. Neil, It is 3 feet in SCHOOLS where people are also wearing masks and sitting at a desk and listening to a teacher, to talking among themselves.

    1. Yes! No more lockdowns. If the first lockdown worked then why do it again? If the first lockdown didn’t work, why do it again?

    2. Flu in 2019 killed fewer than 50,000 people nationwide, the last year we have reliable figures. COVID-19 has killed 550,000 and counting. Not a liberal vs conservative issue. Public health should not be political.

  3. It is NOT a business’ responsibility to police their customers!! We have a business to run and being Mommy’s and Daddy’s to our customers to make them ware a mask is NOT part of that business nor our job!! Health Department must accept that!!

    1. I don’t know about that. You police them for shoplifting or skipping out on a bill or smoking if it’s a non-smoking venue, correct? You may be cutting out a whole clientele and their money if your shop looks unsafe and uncaring. I do not even enter a business where I see people are unmasked and not social-instanced.

    2. Michael – it is 100% your responsibility to police your customers. If you want to operate a business that allows the public to enter, you must follow the rules.

    3. It absolutely is a business’ responsibility to police what their customers do within their doors.

  4. I am an adult, I dont need big brother protecting me from cradle to grave. I can live with my decisions and yes that includes staying home if I have symptoms of any illness not just C19. Now the southern boarder to protect the sovereignty of our nation, yes..