The state Attorney General’s Office said that while it still believes the business owners’ violations were reckless, the value in collecting the fines is now “negligible.” (Getty Images)
The state budget up for a final vote Thursday includes $10,000 to repay the eight businesses fined for violating COVID-19 mask and social-distancing rules. But three never paid because their appeals were pending when the state of emergency ended.
The state Attorney General’s Office withdrew the fines, saying while it still believes the owners’ violations were reckless, the value in collecting the fines is now “negligible,” especially given the state resources needed to continue fighting the appeals.
Richard Leclaire, owner of Grumpy’s Bar & Grill in Plaistow, was fined $1,500 in November 2020 aftering being warned that he was violating the rules by allowing customers to stand within six feet of each other without masks. After several warnings, Alexa Firman, owner of Simply Delicious Baking Company in Bedford, was fined $500 in November for refusing to wear a mask while serving customers and failing to require her employees to do the same. Christopher Weier, owner of What a Bagel in Weare, was also fined $500 in November for similar violations after multiple warnings.
They appealed. In an identical letter to all three dated June 14, the state Attorney General’s Office said it was withdrawing the fines because the COVID-19 rules are no longer in place.
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