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Crow reports Mill Avenue restaurants that may be violating health guidelines

President Michael Crow sent a letter to the ADHS director regarding potential violations of state guidelines in four establishments

Zipp's Sports Bar and Grill

Pedestrians walk near Zipps Sports Grill on Mill Avenue in Tempe, Arizona, on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2019.

With cumulative COVID-19 cases now over 1,000 among ASU's student body, the University is beginning to take action.

President Michael Crow wrote a letter to Arizona Department of Health Services Director Cara Christ to report four restaurants and bars on Tempe's popular Mill Avenue that he said were violating the state's guidelines for reopening over Labor Day weekend. 

ASU has also placed six students on interim suspension for health violations. Four of those suspensions are related to off-campus incidents and two are for on-campus violations, a spokesperson said in an email. 

The letter, which was also sent to the Department of Liquor Licenses and Control, detailed his concerns and provided photo evidence and written explanation as to how Zipps Sports Grill, 414 Pub & Pizza, Loco Patron and Kung Fu Tea had violated guidelines. 

While the primary intent in Crow's letter was to address concerns regarding restaurants that serve alcohol, Kung Fu Tea, a bubble tea store, does not serve alcohol, according to its menu. 

Bars and nightclubs can only reopen once a county's COVID-19 percent positivity rate drops below 3%. Establishments may then reopen at 50% occupancy and must require six feet of social distancing, prohibit open seating, require face coverings, enhance cleaning and more, according to guidelines from the ADHS released Aug. 10.

Bars in Maricopa county were cleared to reopen on Aug. 27, The Arizona Republic reported.

In the letter, Crow said the violations "represent the kind of undisciplined and risky activity which, if not properly addressed in a timely manner, could worsen COVID-19 spread among the ASU community and in the larger community surrounding the Tempe campus."

"While I understand it may be difficult for restaurants to control the behavior of their customers, it is imperative that the ownership and staff of these restaurants speak up and make an effort to do so," Crow wrote. 

Attached to the letter were two separate documents providing written descriptions and photos of violations on the days of Sept. 5 and 6. "Repeat offenders" for each document were Zipps Sports Grill, 414 Pub & Pizza and Loco Patron. Kung Fu Tea was only listed on the Sept. 6 document. 

Ben Betz, a bar manager at Loco Patron, said he was unaware of any violations that occurred over Labor Day weekend. He said he had heard the rumors of other establishments receiving citations on Mill Avenue from ADHS and Department of Liquor Licenses and Control, but Loco Patron has not received any citations or warnings.

Glow Shots & Cocktails on Mill Avenue was ordered by ADHS to close Aug. 30 for "operating in violation of its Attestation and thus is jeopardizing the health, safety and welfare of the public." 

"No industry has been hit harder than restaurants," said Josh Levine, the owner of Loco Patron. "From day one we've been full-steam ahead on (following) the best procedures and practices."

Since reopening, Levine said the restaurant had been visited by ADHS, Tempe Police and the liquor board, but none of them had raised any complaints about the restaurant.

If people are sitting together, it's because they came in together, Levine said.

A photo provided by Crow in the letter shows a group of people in Loco Patron standing close together and that "staff made no effort to physically separate patrons or require them to be seated." 

Levine said the photo is "a snap in time" and that the restaurant has "a very strict" policy of no standing, no congregating and no standing around the bar.

Zipps Sports Grill and 414 Pub & Pizza did not respond to a request for comment by the time of publication.

Tempe PD issued eight party citations between Sept. 4 and 8, seven of which were student-related, a spokesperson said in an email. Six student-related party citations were also issued over the first weekend of the semester.

Since ASU reopened on Aug. 20, COVID-19 cases have grown by 809 in the Tempe campuses zip code of 85281, internal tracking of ADHS data by The State Press shows. An update Wednesday from the University reported there have been 1,305 cumulative students who have tested positive since Aug. 1. 

READ MORE: ASU's cumulative COVID-19 cases do not add up

A previous update Monday reported there were 825 total positive active cases within the ASU community as of Sept. 6, with 202 in isolation on the Tempe campus.

Senior Reporter Piper Hansen contributed to this article.

Reach the reporter at and follow @wmyskow on Twitter. 

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Wyatt MyskowProject Manager

Wyatt Myskow is the project manager at The State Press, where he oversees enterprise stories for the publication. He also works at The Arizona Republic, where he covers the cities of Peoria and Surprise.

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