Council Members, Mayor, Accused Of Not Wearing Masks While At Charlotte Bar
CHARLOTTE, NC – Just three days after opening, the owner of Hattie’s Tap and Tavern in Plaza Midwood is already having trouble with some political patrons.
Pictures and people with first hand accounts say there was a repeated lack of mask wearing and some disparaging comments made by Charlotte City council members at a local bar following a marathon meeting Monday night.
“The mayor did come up and we had to ask her to put a mask on,” said Hatties owner Jackie DeLoach, “when we asked them to put on their masks, they did. We just had to ask them to do it often.”
Council Members Larken Egleston, Tariq Bohkari, Julie Eislet and Malcolm Graham joined Mayor Vi Lyles and city manager Marcus Jones as well as several other city staff members at two tables at Hatties following their 11 hour meeting.
A picture taken by Queen City Nerve publisher Justin LaFrancois shows Larken Egleston standing without a mask.
“Larken was the only one standing. I was fine with it because he was with his group,” said DeLoach.
While DeLoach didn’t have a problem with what was happening in the picture, she says she did have to remind several members of the group several times to wear a mask.
“They didn’t have their masks on. Either had to be reminded to put their masks on or waited until they got inside to put a mask on,” said Justin LaFrancois.
LaFrancois says he witnessed repeated disregard for the rules.
“They mayor didn’t have her mask on. She walked about 30 feet from her table to my table. She leaned down and said “have a good night.” No mask on,” said LaFrancois.
A spokesperson for the mayor tells WCCB that, “Mayor Lyles says she followed the rules of the establishment. And says every time she got up she had her mask on.”
“To see our elected officials abuse it essentially with blatant disregard to the rules made me so disappointed,” said LaFrancois.
Along with the mask issue, DeLoach says disparaging comments were made about her staff and the clientele, specifically by council member Tariq Bokhari.
“I think more so i was just disappointed with how they were making fun of us and the customers and my staff. And making a lot of jokes and that just kind of hurt my feelings,” said DeLoach.
Bokhari said in a statement, “I made what i thought to be an innocent joke that clearly didn’t resonate, and i’m sorry for how it was received – It was certainly not my intention to make someone feel unappreciated.”
DeLoach says she’s worked very hard to create a welcoming environment at her bar and she says all are welcome as long as they follow the rules.