Salt Lake County forces closure of five bars and clubs for violating COVID-19 orders

Two were approved to reopen Sunday after sending written business plans to the health department.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Main Street is nearly empty at 2pm in the afternoon, Thursday April 23, 2020

The Salt Lake County Health Department temporarily closed five bars and clubs in downtown Salt Lake City on Saturday night for violating the state’s public health orders regarding COVID-19.

The five were:

  • Echo, 134 W. Pierpont Ave.

  • Karma, 122 W. Pierpont Ave.

  • Lake Effect, 155 W. 200 South.

  • Twist, 32 Exchange Place.

  • An establishment hosting a private party located at 60 W. Market St. (formerly known as the New Yorker).

The “Notices of Violation & Orders of Restriction” were issued after the five establishments violated one or more of the state’s three requirements for operation during the pandemic. Those require each staff member to wear a face mask while at work, each patron who enters the premises of the business to wear a face mask, and at least 6 feet of physical distance between each separate party.

Echo had been previously shut down in September due to previous violations of the state’s health order, and filed a lawsuit with the county health department in November over the restrictions. Lake Effect and Twist hadn’t yet been shut down, but did receive written warnings before Saturday.

To reopen, each business must send a written plan to the county’s health department demonstrating how the business will begin complying with and enforcing the health order. Both Lake Effect and Twist sent those plans to Salt Lake County on Sunday. Both were approved by the health department, so they were expected to resume business Sunday night.

As of Monday afternoon, however, Echo, Karma and the former New Yorker space “have not been approved to reopen,” said health department spokesman Nicholas Rupp.

Furthermore, three establishments received written warnings Saturday night:

  • Soundwell, 149 W. 200 South.

  • Wasted Space, 342 S. State.

  • London Belle, 321 S. Main.

Those establishments were able to stay open but would face closure upon repeated violations.

— Reporter Kathy Stephenson contributed to this story.