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'This took us completely by surprise' | St. Louis bar questions shutdown

While one bar claims it was shut down unfairly, St. Louis mayor pledges "targeted approach" to enforcing rules

ST. LOUIS — The lights will be dim at several St. Louis bars through the weekend after the city shut them down for violating coronavirus reopening requirements.

That includes the Marquee Restaurant and Lounge on Locust. The bar did not respond to 5 On Your Side's request for comments, but it posted several photos on its Facebook page questioning the validity of the complaints behind the shutdown.  

“This took us completely by surprise because we have never been contacted by anyone concerning any violations that we had committed,” the post reads in part. 

If a business wants to contest a shut-down order, a health department spokesperson a business can contact the department for review.

“It’s especially hard to enforce masks and social distancing if you are in a big group of people such as in a nightclub,” said Mayor Lyda Krewson in her Friday afternoon briefing. “It’s what has to happen if the business is going to continue to operate.”

#LiveWithLyda - Friday, July 31

Good afternoon and happy Friday, St. Louis! We are live from City Hall with an update on #COVID19 and a number of other important topics. Please send in your questions and join the conversation!

Posted by Mayor Lyda Krewson on Friday, July 31, 2020

Also shut-down this week: Big Daddy’s on The Landing, Start Bar on Spruce and Wheelhouse, where video from last weekend showing a packed dance-floor spread like a virus.

RELATED: Video of packed St. Louis bar prompts city to temporarily close businesses

“We do intend to continue with a more targeted approach because for those businesses, and it’s most of them, that are doing a good job, we’re trying not to shut them down or curtail them,” Krewson said.

Broader restrictions are in place at many nightlife-turned-COVID-hotspots around the country. Beale Street in Memphis and Bourbon Street in New Orleans are mostly shut down. Alcohol sales are banned in many places in Florida.

Krewson said she doesn’t think St. Louis needs to take it that far.

“Nobody wants to spread this," she said. "A lot of businesses have already made adjustments and we thank them for that.”

Health department representatives have also been hitting the town on weekend nights looking for compliance. They wear health department identification. A spokesperson said the department investigates all complaints. Anyone with COVID-19 concerns to submit them by calling 314-622-4800, online at stlouis-mo.gov/csb, or by tweeting @stlcsb.

RELATED: 4 St. Louis bars ordered to temporarily close after city says they violated public health orders