Marion County health officials shut down two clubs for COVID-19 violations

The nightclubs Casba Bar in Broad Ripple and After 6 in downtown Indianapolis have been ordered to close immediately for violating pandemic-related health orders, the Marion County Public Health Department says.

Both businesses have had their licenses suspended for “significant and repeat violations,” the health department said in a statement released Tuesday.

Officials said both Casba Bar, at 6319 Guilford Ave., and After 6, at 247 S. Meridian St., violated emergency public health orders by not allowing for social distancing, not offering seated service and not enforcing the county’s mask mandate for indoor spaces.

Casba Bar was also found to be in violation of an existing risk-mitigation plan earlier in the month, the health department said.

In addition, After 6 served food using an “illegal, non-licensed caterer,” the health department said.

After 6 manager Cherie Smith, whose husband, Terry Smith, owns the club, called the health department’s actions inaccurate and hurtful. “We run a very safe and clean business.”

Cherie Smith said the health department’s action was based on two videos posted on social media: one from an event that took place last year before pandemic restrictions were in place and another that shows an event that took place last weekend.

At last weekend’s event, patrons briefly rushed the stage to greet the guest DJ, Smith acknowledged, but that lasted for less than 10 minutes and patrons were instructed to return to their tables. The video shows the patrons at the stage, Smith said, but it does not show that patrons were socially distanced the rest of the time.

As for the catering issue, Smith said, After 6 did not realize that its caterers’ license had expired Feb. 28.

IBJ was unable to reach Casba Bar by phone, and an email message to the club was not immediately returned.

To open, After 6 will need to submit a risk-mitigation plan that details how it plans to protect its customers’ health, and Casba Bar will need to submit a new risk mitigation plan, officials said.

“We have worked hard to balance the importance of protecting the health of our residents with protecting our economy, and the decision to close these establishments was not made lightly,” said Dr. Virginia Caine, the health department’s director and chief medical officer, in a prepared statement. “But after these significant and repeat violations, these license suspensions are necessary for the health of our community.”

The orders came after the health department cited Bottleworks District for large crowds over the weekend and a failure to enforce the county’s mask policy.

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