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Enforcing Executive Orders: Sting Operations Weighted with Expanded Purpose

Even in the age of COVID-19 government-backed stings occur. Not only is law enforcement focused on upholding the lawful sale of age-sensitive products, such as alcohol and tobacco, but compliance with COVID-19 executive orders, as well. The cost for violations? Thousands of dollars in fines and possible suspension of liquor licenses.


At The BARS Program, we’ve rounded up a few COVID-related sting operations making headlines.


  • In late July, New York officials completed 1,966 compliance checks, finding violations at 503 establishments, and suspending liquor licenses at more than 10 New York City bars.1
  • Just across state lines the same week, Pennsylvania State Police Liquor Control Enforcement Officers visited 1,804 bars and restaurants. More than 40 warnings were issued for failing to follow COVID-19 requirements, including social distancing, masking, and other health and safety requirements of the liquor code.2 In the Keystone State, unannounced compliance checks can happen anywhere, but officers focus on areas where there are higher coronavirus transmission rates.
  • In mid-June, two Houston-area bars and 15 others across the state of Texas faced 30-day suspensions of permits after undercover operations determined these bars were not operating safely.3
  • Also, in June, Florida’s governor warned bars and clubs there they risk having liquor licenses suspended, if they don’t follow virus-prevention guidelines. Guidelines emphasize 50 percent occupancy, masks, social distance and proper handwashing. Occupancy slightly above 50 percent results in a warning while significant out of range occupancy warrants “no tolerance” measures.4


Avoid being the target of a government-backed sting. Your business and employees have suffered enough loss already. Contact The BARS Program at or by calling 1-877-540-5500. We’ll work with you and your employees to ensure thorough training and implementation of local laws during COVID-19 and beyond.



1 Democrat & Chronical, NY suspends 45 liquor licenses and issues 503 violations due to COVID. Here's where.

2 42 warnings issued to Pa. liquor-licensed establishments for not following COVID-19 rules: police

3 KHOU CBS-Affiliated Television Station,TABC shuts down Texas bars for not following COVID-19 orders after undercover sting

4 Wfla TV-News Channel 8,Bars and restaurants not following COVID-19 guidelines will have licenses suspended, Gov. DeSantis says

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