The streets of Old Town’s Entertainment District were quiet last weekend — and it likely won’t be the last as a result of Gov. Doug Ducey’s new executive order.
Less than a week after several Scottsdale bars were dubbed “bad actors” – with one charged with a misdemeanor – Ducey closed bars, gyms, theaters and water parks through at least July 27.
The order defines bars as those “whose business is the sale or dispensing of alcoholic beverages” with a Series 6 or 7 license, though they can still provide curbside, delivery and takeout service.
Videos of W Scottsdale’s rooftop pool packed with many non-mask-wearing partygoers went viral on social media last weekend and Ducey’s order now forbids groups larger than 10 from congregating in or near public and hotel/motel pools. It also forbids groups larger than 50 inside or outside public areas.
“Even disruptors have to follow the rules sometimes,” the hotel said in a press release. “At W Scottsdale, the safety of our guests and staff is our top priority.”
“In compliance with the city emergency proclamation, W Scottsdale will require guests to wear face masks at all times in public areas and continue practicing social distancing.”
Ducey gave the “bad actor” label to several Scottsdale bars and restaurants – including eight of W Scottsdale’s Entertainment District neighbors Riot House, El Hefe, Bottled Blonde, Pattie’s, Casa Amigos, International, Maya Day Club and Hi-Fi .
Riot House was charged with a class one misdemeanor by Scottsdale police – which could result in a $20,000 fine.
“Unfortunately, we have not seen the evidence that was used to levy the charge. We don’t know what happened,” Lissa Druss of Riot Hospitality Group told the Progress.
Riot Hospitality Group manages El Jefe and Riot House, which voluntarily closed from June 25-28.
Riot Hospitality also closed Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row, although it was not identified as a “bad actor.”
“We voluntarily closed our three locations this weekend because if we can try and do our part to reduce some of the spread of COVID, we want to be a leader and try and do that,” Druss said. “This is about the health and safety of everyone in Old Town.”
Druss added that they had already started discussions of shutting down the three bars earlier in the week.
“Because we have three of the most popular locations in Old Town. And then when we heard Governor Ducey’s message about ‘heeding a call,’ ‘a yellow light,’ and ‘this is a warning for our health,’ it was a no-brainer,” Druss said.
Riot House has since deactivated its Facebook and Instagram pages.
Evening Entertainment Group also closed Bottled Blonde Pizzeria, HiFi Kitchen + Cocktails, Casa Amigos Tacos + Tequila, and Skylanes over the weekend.
“We made significant efforts to maintain a safe environment but feel that temporarily closing is the best way to support our team and our guests during this current spike,” Evening Entertainment Group Owners Les & Diane Corieri said in a prepared statement.
International Boutique Nightclub (INTL) also closed their doors, but not before posting to social media a statement pushing back on Ducey’s “bad actors” characterization.
“We were called ‘bad actors’ and ‘contributors to the spread’ while large public gatherings, water parks, casinos and many other AZ businesses were not met with the same criticism or level of scrutiny,” wrote INTL, the same bar that made national news for inviting boxer Floyd Mayweather to its packed bar over Memorial Day weekend.
A video of the scene at INTL at the time showed people not social distancing and not wearing masks.
Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane called the video “disturbing” and said the images showed a “real lack of common sense and civic responsibility.”
Before Ducey's order, Maya Day and Night Club had decided already to close their doors through the Fourth of July weekend.
Jason Adler, director of operations for Spellbound Entertainment Group, also maintained that Maya followed recommendations from the CDC, the state and the city, but asserted that some patrons “aggressively” refused to abide by their operational guidelines.
“And we have no choice but to cease operations for this period of time – and possibly longer — in order to be responsible in support of state and city efforts to preclude the spread of COVID-19,” Adler said in a prepared statement.
Adler also complained that Ducey did not give clear guidelines for reopening, calling the instructions that we’re put in place “broad.”
“During this time, we as a group encouraged and educated our patrons about health and safety risks,” INTL’s statement read. “We also welcomed all state and local representatives to help native us through these difficult times. During all of our interactions with local officials, we received suggested measures and obliged graciously.”
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths in Arizona continues to rise and Ducey predicted that trend would continue for at least the next few weeks.
“You are safer at home,” Ducey said during his briefing on June 29.