Sarah’s Bull Pen liquor license suspended over coronavirus protocols

Sarah's Bull Pen was notified March 6 its liquor license has been suspended due to not following AZDHS protocols for COVID-19. - David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

SAFFORD — The day after Gov. Doug Ducey rescinded COVID-19 occupancy limits on businesses, a state agency suspended the liquor license of a local business for failing to follow COVID-19 protocols.

On March 5, Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control detectives said they witnessed Sarah’s Bull Pen failing to require mask wearing and enforce social distancing protocols of patrons inside the establishment. The next day the bar was notified of the indefinite suspension of its liquor license.

In its notice of suspension, the state Liquor Board said it wasn’t the first time the agency had contact with the bar’s owner. It states there were no less than five different instances of communication between Liquor Board officials and the bar’s management, including detectives having discussions about adherence to the new rules on Aug. 3, 2020, and that the bar was sent a warning letter about infractions on Jan. 15, 2021.

The notice of liquor license spension has been posted at each of the Bull Pen’s entrances. – David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central

While the notice states the department can revoke the liquor license, it also states the bar’s ownership could get its license back in good standing if it can demonstrate it is in compliance and will remain in compliance with health regulations.

On March 6, Ducey issued an executive order rescinding capacity limits as a result of COVID-19 on businesses throughout the state. However, his executive order also states that all Arizona Department of Health Services requirements remain in place, “including, but not limited to, mask use and appropriate physical distancing between parties and groups.”

On its Facebook page, bar owners said they would be in Phoenix on Monday to appeal the decision, asked customers for support, and said the bar would continue to sell “food, smoothies, milkshakes and ice cold sodas” without violating the Liquor Board ruling.

“So please come and support us by buying our delicious pizza and wings and more,” the social media post read.