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Aug 07, 2020
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GARDNER, Mass. — The Board of Health has issued $600 in fines to the Colonial Hotel after determining it violated state COVID-19 regulations by holding a wedding with more than 300 people on Saturday, Aug. 1, and an event with 190 guests the following day, reports The Gardner News, which is a part of the USA TODAY Network.

Colonial is being fined $300 for each violation, and the city is also looking into whether there were violations of bar, dance floor and masking regulations during the events.

Mayor Michael Nicholson said the city received a complaint that the 100-guest limit set by the state for outside events was violated Saturday when the hotel hosted a wedding with 240 guests and 70 staff. On Sunday, the hotel again violated state requirements, according to the city.

Prior to the event, the city received complaints about plans to hold the events at the hotel. It also heard from the state Department of Labor Standards of employee complaints about possible violations. The mayor said the city cannot fine a business until an event is held and a violation has been committed.

The hotel owner was notified in July that large events that could exceed state limits should be avoided.

When the city continued to receive calls from the state about additional complaints, the city sent a formal warning to the hotel and a copy of state regulations by email, regular mail and certified mail.

“Then the weekend happened,” Nicholson said.

The Board of Health then investigated complaints it received directly, issuing the civil citations for the two violations, according to a statement issued by the board.

“We have not received a formal, written complaint regarding the bar, dance floor or mask violations at this time,” according to the statement. “If we receive other complaints, we will certainly investigate those as they come.”

Calls to the hotel were referred to General Manager Nicole Moorshead, who was not available for comment.
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