Clarksburg Tavern’s ‘USA Themed Party’ Under Investigation

A Montgomery County inspector visited The Clarksburg Tavern, on Frederick Road, Jan. 11, six days after they hosted a “USA Themed Party” that was sponsored by Robin Ficker, who is running for Maryland governor on the Republican ticket.

The county received information about the 6 p.m. party and decided to investigate. Information “will be analyzed and appropriate actions taken,” said Mary Anderson, spokesperson for the county’s Health and Human Services Department. “We would expect a decision early next week” on whether any action will be taken, she said.

Photos of the party that were posted on Twitter showed maskless patrons eating and drinking indoors, which is prohibited by the county as part of its COVID-19 restrictions.

Ficker explained to MyMCM that he wanted to show support to Clarksburg Tavern, which he said has been hassled since suing County Executive Marc Elrich in an attempt to end the county’s ban on indoor dining. He said the restaurant “had started getting a lot of phony orders” and nasty calls.

Therefore, he decided to hold the event, which he said was planned for outdoors, under a tent, and featured a live band. He planned to deliver some remarks on how wrong he believed the county is to ban indoor dining. When the crowd grew larger than he expected, he feared he couldn’t be heard by all, and the event was moved indoors, Ficker said.

“We invited them into the restaurant for my 10-minute speech,” he said. “Some of the people may not have had masks on, because they were sipping their drinks. Some of them may have brought their drinks or food with them,” but no food or drinks were served while people were inside, Ficker said.

“I gave my talk and then I left. They went outside to hear the band,” he noted.

The event was to help the restaurant, he noted, calling the negative reactions “much to do about nothing.”

Ficker called on the county to open restaurants, bars and schools.

When asked by MyMCM, County Deputy Health Officer James Bridgers noted that since the the ban on indoor dining, the county has seen “a slight reduction” in the number of restaurant employees who have tested positive for COVID-19. When asked about the number of restaurant patrons who have contacted the virus, Bridgers said, “I don’t have that data before me.”

On Monday, Jan. 11, there were 460 new cases reported and the 14-day average test positivity was 7.7%.

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Suzanne Pollak

About Suzanne Pollak

Suzanne is a freelance reporter with Montgomery Community Media. She has over 35 years professional experience writing for newspapers, magazines, non-profit newsletters and the web.

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