The Society Restaurant & Lounge in Silver Spring has been declared an “Unsafe Facility” by Montgomery County Health Officer Dr. Travis Gayles after repeated COVID-19 violations.
The Georgia Avenue establishment was ordered to close on Tuesday following an inspection on Saturday. It must remain closed for 30 days or until Gayles approves reopening. Society previously received a citation and had their license suspended in two separate inspections in July. The license was reinstated after the restaurant presented the county with a corrective plan.
During Saturday’s visit, county Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) personnel said they saw no violations on the lower level of the restaurant lounge, but saw customers on the rooftop level dancing on a stage with no mask or physical distancing. Inspectors said they saw some people not seated at their designated tables and some were also dancing by their tables with no masks or distancing, according to an inspection document from the county Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).
“Some customers are not seated at their designated table, some are dancing by their tables with no mask and no minimum of 6 [feet] social distancing is maintained from the next customers,” the document says. Society was issued a $500 citation for lack of physical distancing in addition to the closure order. Inspectors said customers must stay seated at their own tables and wear a mask when they get up.
According to Gayles’ order, Society heightened the risk of COVID-19 spread and it “is hereby deemed an Unsafe Facility.”
“Immediate closure of the Unsafe Facility is reasonable and necessary to prevent further spread of COVID-19,” the order reads. Anyone who knowingly violates the closure directive may be charged with a misdemeanor with one year maximum jail time, a $5,000 maximum fine or both.
The Society Restaurant & Lounge put out a statement on Facebook Wednesday.
“In recent events, it was brought to our attention that a few guests were not wearing their masks when leaving their dining tables, along with two patrons dancing within their section,” the post reads.
“While we aim to strictly enforce these rules, sometimes incidents such as this go unseen from our staff.” The restaurant will enforce new safety measures.
“During our temporary closure, we will implement new safety and security controls, further educate and train our staff, and rigorously stress the importance of following the county’s mandates & guidelines.”
Two Silver Spring Businesses Closed for Not Enforcing Social Distancing Measures