[Publisher’s note: These videos have been taken from public social media accounts or have been sent to us through either email or private message in hopes that we would share them with the public to show disregard for COVID restrictions put in place by the state’s government, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention best practices. We made efforts to blur or eliminate any immediately identifiable features of people’s faces and social media handles. The sharing of this information is for educational purposes. Simply, it is what not to do. The actions in these videos do not help small businesses; they allow people to party with their friends while tightening restrictions on other small businesses. This is not a list of places you should boycott, but a list of businesses and people who have been selfish enough to only think of themselves rather than run a safe operation as many others have. While many of these videos are from Halloween weekend, businesses are constantly acting in the same manner each weekend.]
Mecklenburg County has seen a total of 60,337 cases with 552 deaths (as of Dec. 27) due to COVID-19, putting us in the number one spot for cases by county in the state. In mid-December, Mecklenburg became a “red” county, which according to North Carolina’s COVID-19 County Alert System color tier shows that we have a critical community spread with a more than 10% positive test rate.
Each day we get a new notification of a record high number of cases in North Carolina. The highest number of cases recorded in Mecklenburg County in the month of December was 769 as of Dec. 20, before the holiday break made data more scarce. That is a 320% increase from the highest number of cases reported in August, which was 183, and a 219% increase from the highest number in October.
Through all of the stay-at-home campaigns and warnings from the CDC and local and state governments, people have no problem gathering to drink and party in enclosed spaces, putting them and those around them at risk. Videos have been surfacing for months of crowded private clubs and night parties in apartments. Halloween parties and Thanksgiving drinking fests leading into Christmas get-togethers have contributed to the recent spike that we have seen.
The Georgia Institute of Technology’s COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool shows that a gathering of 25 people in Mecklenburg County gives you a 54% chance of contracting the novel coronavirus and attending an event with 50 or more people comes with a 78% chance.
Enforcing the Executive Orders
From the beginning, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department has stated that its priority in enforcing the order was to push for education and cooperation, only issuing citations after business owners have repeatedly refused or failed to follow orders. Throughout the pandemic, the department has issued dozens of citations, including 18 in November and December alone.
As has been the case through most of the year, many of the citations in November and December went to bars, nightclubs or arcades. Hoppin’ was cited on Dec. 4 and again on Dec. 5. The bar has been notorious for its lax enforcement of restrictions since August, when a video of a guest putting her mouth on a tap and drinking from it went viral. The bar was cited for the first time just days later.
After the most recent citations, Hoppin’ owner Rich Moyer released a statement that read, “Per our constitution, we as Americans have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. We have the right to operate our business, and the governor of our state cannot tell us if we cannot make a living by operating our business as we see fit. We do not feel he has the right to do that.”
Hoppin’ has received $25,000 in COVID-19 relief grants for small businesses from the city of Charlotte this year. Nearly half of the businesses that applied for those grants did not receive any money.
Top Shitshows of the Charlotte Pandemic
13. The Music Yard
November 29, 2020
This video is probably the least shocking of the list, but shows gatherings of people with no masks and limited social distancing. If you slide through some of their Instagram stories, and those of their regulars, you can see a progression of what was once a distanced and masked gathering area to packed picnic tables and crowded concerts. I was comfortable with what was offered here during the start of their drive-in concert series, presented by the former director of the Breakaway Music Festival, but the popularity has outgrown the safety. That piece of string and tables of six or more are not going to keep the dance and spit molecules off your face. They do often promote wearing a mask and social distancing on social media, and it is often a back-and-forth on what type of content you will actually see regarding masks and distancing.
The irony of this Instagram Stories post comes in having a PSA from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services as the last slide on a story following videos showing DHHS restrictions being all but ignored.
12. The Brickyard
October 30, 2020
Halloween was geared to be a pandemic party weekend here in the Queen City and damn if that isn’t exactly what happened. This video with the text “Birds Aren’t Real” (which is an actual popular conspiracy theory, believe it or not, though we hope this is mentioned in some joking context here) shows a wonderful panning view of the inside of The Brickyard in South End for a party the night before Halloween. I count zero masks in a room of more than 50 people.
11. Latin Nights at The Peculiar Rabbit
October 31, 2020
The Peculiar Rabbit sucks for a lot of reasons from the owner Rob Nixon’s questionable world views to the stories of employee abuse from managers over the years. This video was taken on Halloween night. Nixon has been renting out The Peculiar Rabbit space since closing for business back in January of this year and it has been a place for some of Charlotte’s Latin community to gather for events like Mambo Night and more. The video pans slightly and cuts to the rooftop showing that no one is wearing masks, everyone is dancing close together, and they pretty much used all the space from the first floor to the roof to party like it’s 2019.
10. Tequila House
November 14, 2020
This session occurred around the time that Mecklenburg County Public Health officials were warning of increased cases for Thanksgiving and urging people who were going to be around friends and family for the holiday to quarantine and reduce contact with people they do not live with. That didn’t happen.
9. Monarch Room
October 31, 2020
Just another get together on Halloween night. Nothing to see here, except for all the literal carelessness. This one fits the usual bill of a promoted show with a DJ, no masks and no social distancing.
8. el Thrifty CLT
December 20, 2020
Many have made the pandemic strictly about politics. Hell, we make literally everything about politics. Some are so frustrated with having to stay at home that instead of blaming science and our ineptitude in accepting data and research that they see a day party in December as a rebellious plot to overthrow government ideology. I can’t help but ponder the “Bye Cooper we rebel” text in the second video. Where are you going? Are you really going to say goodbye to the governor every day for the next four years? It is just silly. You are not making a political statement here. You are saying something along the lines of “When I think for myself I tend to get it wrong.”
7. Section at Recess
October 31, 2020
Section is one of those places that just doesn’t give a shit and doesn’t try to hide it. No one that goes there or works there seems to care about what is going on in the world around us and they promote themselves heavily to do this very same thing every single weekend. Neighbors of the establishment reach out all the time offering visual experiences of what is taking place in and around the building. CMPD officers are usually sitting outside allowing it all to happen. Maskless employees dancing around doing bottle service and packed dance floors are the norm here.
6. Kingdom City Church
November 9, 2020
In my personal opinion, churches have always been a shitshow. Even more so now that the church exemption exists. You cannot impede someone’s right to religion and how they practice it, so even though there are regulations in place for indoor gatherings, a mask mandate and all the information that we have, the blood of Jesus prevails. This holy convocation occurred over seven days and the church itself posted these videos to their social media pages. That’s one huge middle finger to everyone else. This video was filmed after the United House of Prayer super spreader convocation led to 213 cases, 12 hospitalizations and 12 deaths. Pray for them.
5. House Vibrations Halloween Party at STC Warehouse
October 31, 2020
Wow. It’s been some back and forth for the new STC warehouse in South End. When they host an art party you have to purchase a ticket for a certain slot of time and wear a mask and use hand sanitizer and all that good stuff. But when the space is offered up or used for a late-night party all of those rules go straight out the window. Through all of the videos (these are just a portion) I counted two or three masks in a sea of hundreds. It was shared on social media earlier that night that over 1,000 tickets had been sold to this event. Buh-foo-nery.
4. Clutch Kitchen & Pour House
December 19, 2020
This video garnered more than 100,000 views across multiple social media platforms and local news agencies (whoops). With the ACC Championship football game between Clemson and Notre Dame in town, there were sure to be some less-than-COVID-friendly events in the city, but damn. Clutch was slammed with Notre Dame fans after the Charlotte Clemson Club posted on Facebook that they would abide by alumni guidance to not hold in-person viewing parties. The establishment was cited the same day and after removing their social media accounts, reactivated them to post an apology.
3. QC Social Lounge
December 10, 2020
This was a blowout party for the “Starting tomorrow we can’t be out drinking past 9 p.m.” crew. The video shows one of the most packed places I have seen since all these videos started circulating, and many people who were in attendance went off about how great it was on social media after news outlets reported on it. Shortly after there was at least one part-time or contract worker and one patron who posted on their social media account that they contracted the coronavirus. There are over 100 people packed in that sardine can, which according to the Georgia Institute of Technology’s COVID risk assessment means there was a 95% chance of contracting COVID in this room.
2. Nikkos Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar
October 24, 2020
This sushi-bar-turned-dance-club in Uptown caused a lot of ruckus back in late October when video surfaced of a conga line circling the restaurant. Two people can be seen in masks. The guy doing the Soulja Boy dance guy was on the Panthers practice squad, but was cut from the team the day this video came out. There ended up being 11 COVID cases linked to the restaurant from the weekend before this video. I wonder how many cases came out of the restaurant that day that we don’t know are linked back to it. If you use the Snap Maps feature on Snapchat, you can go to the location on any weekend night and see for yourself how this sort of behavior hasn’t actually stopped.
August 29, 2020
This video lives rent free in my head. I can’t even imagine someone doing this before the pandemic. It is just fucking nuts and this girl has obviously never poured a beer from a draft line or had to clean after a bar shift. The amount of regular bacteria that she sucked off that tap is enough to take your breath away, and then the fact that she is giving the next person a taste of the inside of her mouth is cringeful. Rich “Constitutional Rights” Moyer assured everyone the woman was banned from the establishment after the video surfaced, but the damage was done. I’d love to talk to her just once. I’m so curious: What were you thinking? Did you get sick? Like, literally any kind of sick? This is the worst video of irresponsible COVID actions to come out of 2020.
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