One violation of the Chattanooga beer code was heard at the city beer board meeting on Thursday morning - the first violation hearing conducted using Zoom.
Chattanooga Police Officer John Collins said for several days prior to Aug. 30 he began receiving complaints that Mexiville Mexican Restaurant, 809 Market St., had started operating as a nightclub instead of a restaurant. The two different locations of this business have had no previous beer violations in six years, he said.
A follow-up bar check by Kyle Moses with the CPD found numerous people drinking beer from open containers in the bar at 3:02 a.m. on Aug. 30, when all customers are supposed to be out of the building.
Co-owner of the bar Chuy Cerrano, who was present that night, told the board that he was aware of the violation but was unable to get people out of the building by 3 a.m. because he did not have employees to help. Changes he has made to make sure he complies with the city’s laws include now having two people to check IDs instead of one and using a clicker to count occupancy. Temperatures are checked at the door and hand sanitizer is available in multiple locations. The door is now being kept closed to reduce noise that was disturbing the neighbors and food is being served all night, he said.
It was recommended that employees start the process of getting people out the door by 2:30 and to put a security person outside to make sure that customers leaving actually disperse.
The board appreciated his honesty about the cause of the problem and not denying it, said Board Member Ron Smith. The business was penalized by giving a letter of reprimand and the staff must undergo professional training in beer sales.