ASU President pens letter to state health department claiming Mill Avenue COVID-19 violations

Arizona State University's President filed a COVID-19 guidance complaint with the Arizona Department of Health Services on Sept. 9, reporting what he calls "potential violations" by several Mill Avenue restaurants and bars.

ASU President Michael Crow sent photos to the health department of alleged incidents that appear to show customers not abiding by face mask and social distancing guidelines.

Two of the businesses named in Crow’s complaint are Zipps Sports Grill and 414 Pub & Pizza, both are located on Mill Avenue.

Now, they are speaking out, saying their goals are to comply by state and city guidelines and they’re doing the best they can.

The complaint comes after the university has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases since students returned to campus in August. There have been more than 1,300 cases among its staff and students, across all campuses.

In Crow's letter, he wrote, “While I understand it may be difficult for restaurants to control the behavior of their customers, it is imperative that the ownership and staff of these restaurants speak up and make an effort to do so.”

Spencer Golish, 414 Pub & Pizza general manager, says it's not too easy to control crowds after they've been drinking.

“When people drink, sometimes it's like herding cats towards the end of the night," Golish said, adding, “The end of the night, we end up being more of the mask police, but you know, we just do the best we can to follow the regulations as they were put out.”

Crow pointed out karaoke singing as a potential violation at 414 Pub & Pizza, and ownership says it has since stopped karaoke, which was a big hit to their business.

"We lost our busiest season, spring training. So we lost all those months to this disease, and we’re just trying to get back going and make a living so I can provide for my family and employees," Golish explained.

Zipps Sports Grill issued this statement, saying, “Zipps Sports Grill has been conducting business in the valley for over 25 years, this would not be possible without continuously working diligently to adhere to all state and city guidelines."

Golish says guidelines can be confusing and feels businesses have been left to fend for themselves.