HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Business owners in Holyoke are seeking clarification after the city published a list of establishments that had not completed proper inspection protocols to be re-issued their liquor license.
A news release went out Thursday, indicating that more than a dozen bars and restaurants in town shouldn’t be serving alcohol. It was shocking news to one long-time business owner in-particular.
“Regrettably, I found out on social media. Very surprising to me… and upsetting,” said Tom Lucchesi, co-owner of Ivory Billiards Lounge on Chestnut Street. He was shocked to hear they were among the 14 establishments listed by the city as having outstanding business with the fire department, standing in the way of their 2023 liquor license.
“Going into COVID, these things were delayed. So what used to be a week to get your licenses, became a month or two. So that’s what we thought was the case this year,” said Lucchesi.
The news release, maintaining that 14 properties had an inspection conducted by the fire department and were approved, with conditions, and that they should not serve alcohol until that outstanding business was resolved.
However, 22News learned not all these infractions are created equal. In fact, in the case of the Ivory Billiards Lounge. Their inclusion on the list was due to a clerical error.
“Apparently on my building inspection, the rating for my building was put down as A-2 mistakenly, which would require a fire sprinkler system which we clearly don’t have. My building code is an A-3 – which does not require a sprinkler system. So we are in compliance,” said Lucchesi.
He said in their 70 years of business in the city, they have never been non-compliant. So, he visited the Mayor’s office and had it sorted out by mid-day, describing the meeting as “phenomenal.”
However, that doesn’t clear anything up for the 13 other listed establishments, a few of which have reached out to 22News saying they, too, are in compliance. 22News tried to contact the Mayor’s office, licensing office, and fire chief’s office but did not hear back.