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St. Louis County shuts down 4 restaurants for violating health order

Four restaurants had their operating permits suspended Tuesday evening

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Four restaurants in St. Louis County were ordered to shut down on Tuesday after the health department said they were in violation of the county's health order.

Staff from the health department and police officers could be seen at several of the restaurants Tuesday evening.

According to a spokesperson for the St. Louis County Health Department, the permits of the following establishments have been suspended: 

  • Bartolino’s South 
  • Final Destination
  • OT's Bar
  • Satchmo’s Bar and Grill

Editor's note: A previous version of this story included Acapulco Restaurant and Lounge in the closures. A spokesperson said if it continues indoor dining, it will also be notified to immediately cease operations. 

According to the health department, each establishment has the right to ask for a hearing before the suspension becomes final.

Staff from the county health department visited 13 places three times over the weekend. Those 13 were restaurants that received two warning letters. Of the 13, five were still not obeying the public health order on the staff's third visit and had their indoor dining open. That's when they received a third letter that warned them if they didn't close down their indoor dining, their permits and/or liquor licenses would be suspended. 

On Nov. 17, tighter restrictions went into effect in the county, which put a stop on indoor dining. Restaurants are still allowed to provide outdoor service, carryout and delivery. 

Earlier on Tuesday, Republican State Senator Andrew Koenig held a press conference outside Satchmo's Bar and Grill with other lawmakers who wanted to pass a state law that could limit a county executive's power to issue emergency health orders like Sam Page's to close indoor dining.

“No one person should have the power to make law and shut our businesses down,” Koenig said during the press conference. 

A spokesperson from the county health department said masks work in vastly reducing the chance of spreading COVID-19 to others because they limit the sharing of air droplets and aerosols that carry the coronavirus. 

"Indoor dining is a super-spread enabler because people take off their masks when they eat or drink," the spokesperson said in a release.  

"According to the CDC as well as numerous independent studies, eating indoors poses significant risk of spreading COVID-19. DPH contact tracers have identified a number of clusters of cases linked to eating or drinking indoors."

The restaurants that were ordered to shut down can submit a plan to the health department on how they comply, according to a press release the health department sent on Wednesday.

"DPH is happy to consider any plan submission that meets the health order criteria within the 10-day window," the release said. "Once compliance is met, DPH can reverse the permit suspension."

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