Chaotic scenes as hundreds gather for car park party despite lockdown

A restaurant has hosted a party with hundreds of people during coronavirus lockdown.

3 Eyed Fish Restaurant and Bar, based in Richmond in the US state of Washington, hosted a party in a car park on Friday (local time).

Video obtained by US news outlet NBC shows what is reportedly up to 200 people at the gathering. 

They are seen on lawn chairs and don’t appear to be social distancing. No one’s wearing a mask either.

The restaurant had promoted it via a Facebook events page, which has since been deleted, and via posts on its social media accounts.

3 Eyed Fish Restaurant and Bar hosted a party despite COVID-19 lockdown throughout Washington. Source: NBC

It prompted complaints from residents and a responding police officer told The Tri-City Herald about 150 to 250 people were at the party.

People on social media aren’t happy with how the restaurant has responded to the pandemic.

“They've hosted several ‘parking lot parties’ (should call them COVID parties). Their Twitter page makes it obvious that they don't care about public health, safety, or flattening the curve,” one woman tweeted.

She encouraged people not to eat at the restaurant.

One man tweeted anyone “who's interested in contracting COVID-19” should go to the restaurant.

“Seriously though,” he tweeted.

“We will never eat there after this. It's depressing to think that this is how restaurants are responding to the community's efforts to order takeout, delivery, etc to keep them afloat.”

The restaurant also hosted a party the week before. A passer-by told The Tri-City Herald they saw between 75 to 100 people at this one.

A Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board spokesman told the publication the owner of the business had been issued a warning.

Authorities in Washington aren’t policing social distancing, but are trying to actively encourage people to comply.

The owners of 3 Eyed Fish appear to be frustrated and opposed to Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s lockdown measures.

More than 18,800 people in the state have tested positive for coronavirus and at least 1,031 have died.

The state’s stay-at-home order has been extended until May 31.

Mr Inslee has already eased some restrictions across the state, allowing the resumption of existing construction, fishing and golf, and the reopening of most state parks as well as kerbside pickup for retail sales.

The second phase of the state’s reopening plan allows camping and new construction as well as in-store retail purchases with restrictions.

Barber shops and salons could also reopen at that time, and restaurants could reopen at half capacity and table sizes limited to five.

The third phase would be expanding group gatherings to 50 people or less, including sports activities, and would allow restaurants to increase capacity to 75 per cent. 

However, a number of tweets on 3 Eyed Fish’s Twitter account are highly critical of the governor.

“Governor Inslee doing the best to destroy our state,” the restaurant tweeted.

The State Attorney’s office told NBC it was in the process of suing a number of businesses for breaching COVID-19 guidelines and endangering lives.

It’s not clear if 3 Eyed Fish is in the firing line.

with The Associated Press

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