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Licensing Board slams North End restaurant for raft of Covid-19 violations, including letting neighborhood violinist play for diners

City of Boston Licensing Board - Emergency LPI Hearing - 12-21-20

The Boston Licensing Board this morning told the manager and lawyer for Rabia's, 73 Salem St., that if they can't keep the North End's pair of wandering violinists out and if servers keep serving diners after 9:30 p.m. and won't wear masks, the place should just shut down.

"This board is not taking any excuses about these violations," board Chairwoman Kathleen Joyce said at an emergency hearing. "This is a public health crisis. ... If you cannot operate safely, you should close down."

Two detectives from the BPD licensing unit visited the restaurant on Friday for a snap inspection after seeing social-media posts about the restaurant, including an Instagram video (see below) the restaurant itself had posted the previous weekend showing a violinist serenading diners, some crowded at the bar, others at a table with at least ten people, with at least one worker not wearing a mask. "Another great weekend here," the restaurant concluded.

Yeah, not such a great weekend, Joyce said. The violations of the state's and city's Covid-19 violations were so egregious it came up at last week at a regular meeting city officials hold about Covid-19 enforcement and the board, which could suspend the restaurant's license, scheduled an emergency hearing for this morning.

"This is an extreme case," Joyce said.

The manager said she didn't know about the violinist showing up at first. Toscano said he's one of two older North End residents who walk around the neighborhood and pop into restaurants, play and hope to get tipped, not somebody hired by the restaurant. "It's not unusual to see them at all," Toscano said.

Wrong answer, Joyce said. It's the responsibility of restaurants to keep wandering troubadours out, to make sure workers have masks on, to stop food service at 9:30 and to not let ten people crowd around a table. Oh, and you can't let people eat at the bar without board permission, which Rabia's doesn't have, she added.

Toscano apologized and said he thoroughly explained the new realities to the manager and that the board will not see Rabia's before it again.

Sgt. Det. William Gallagher said he had a long talk with the manager during his inspection and explained the rules and that "I don't think you see them before you again."

The board could decide later this week what action to take.

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Comments

I gave him money once. He goes "that's all?"

I don't care about his quality of life.

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And restaurants ran out of PPP months ago. go jump out of your ivory tower low-tipping scumbag troll.

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Pedi-cab drivers haven't worked since March, either. Telephone switchboard operators and coal delivery people haven't worked for decades. Sometimes things change and what we used to do isn't viable anymore. Nobody owes us anything. At least musical performance will probably come back soon, unlike some other professions.

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If you can't take the heat

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I could have given him $0.

Go learn another skill while I dub another record from YouTube onto my hard drive.

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I was dining at Tresca’s Table 77 once when he started playing for me. I thought it would be fun to snap a picture from the famed balcony, until he abruptly cut off the music, gave me a certain gesture and told me where I could stick my iPhone.

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had opera singers performing on its balcony this summer, from the North End Music & Performing Arts Center (NEMPAC).

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What gives the violin guy the right to march up to my table, interrupt my dinner conversation, and hang around until I give him a tip. Screw him. He's just as bad as the squeegee guys on Mass Ave that demand my money.
I have been accosted by him in one other North End restaurant which I no longer go to. I like Rabia's but their covid behavior is a good reason to never go there again.

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I feel like I've been exposed to COVID just from watching that video...

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Definitely killed my appetite.

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this video is absolutely wild, people are really just out there eating in crowded restaurants like normal times?? if the violinist didn't have his slippery mask on I would have thought this clip was from 2019.

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I would understand banning flutes, clarinets, tubas, and other wind instruments, but what harm can come from playing a violin?

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That player looks like he has the slippery nose mask on. But beyond that, nothing would be wrong with playing from a distance... which would be nearly impossible in that establishment from the video.

I'm very sympathetic to restaurants but not ones that don't give a shit. This video is a prime example of the sorts of thing that has overwhelming evidence of leading to major spreads.

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Eating food is necessary. No particular restaurant is, but there's a basic need that restaurants meet.

Not so musical entertainment.

So in a moment where we're trying to reduce spread by eliminating the things that offer risk but little value, violinists indoors in restaurants are awfully high on that list.

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Pro-tip: musicians have to work to earn a living. For them, working is essential. The world doesn't revolve around idle trust funders like yourself who prefer to dine free of 'pesky' musicians with bills and rent to pay.

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We all have to earn a living -- but we don't have the right to do so in ways that cause extreme detriment to public health.

You don't know where I'm from, how much my parents had, or even whether or not I prefer to dine at all, no less with music. So, in that sense, piss off.

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live music and dining in are about at the same level of importance.

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Nope. Nobody died of malnutrition this spring when restaurants were take-out only.

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you don't think music has value?

never turn on a radio again.

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Banning violins in restaurants makes about as much sense as requiring mask wearing outdoors when you are physically distanced from others. You set a general policy as broad as possible and work it out from there. They certainly wouldn't be at at hearing today if the only issue was a guy with a violin.

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If you look around in that video, the violinist is the only one wearing a mask. He's not even talking. He's posing the least probability of transmitting COVID in the entire room.

Mind you, he sounds awful. But I don't think COVID did that to him.

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I'm guessing that Rabia's owners and managers didn't understand the the definition of "brazen" in the context of the city's North End policy of "do what you want but just don't be brazen about it," which includes posting to your own social media account in the most unintelligent way possible.

And since they weren't visited by the licensing unit until "after seeing social-media posts about the restaurant" it shouldn't take an Instagram influencer/marketer three minutes to explain for all similar license holders what to do in order to avoid being called [out] before the board.

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Rabias'(?) owner acts like he's a small business man trying to make a meager living when he has SEVERAL BUSINESSES! Not sure he even lives in Boston anymore? Silvestri weren't you convicted of fraud in NH? Another narcissist bitching that the GOVERNMENT is keeping him from making a living. Selfish fuck Boston doesn't need you! Other businesses truly need money to support their family in this city where they struggle with the high taxes etc. SHUT IT DOWN! STOP ACTING LIKE A VICTIM!

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I own a few rental properties in the North End & used to take my family out for dinner in the neighborhood several times a month. It was a favorite stop for business dinners & out of town guests. These restaurant owners have shown their true colors since March & I will never spend a penny at my old North End restaurants again.

Owners from Bricco, Mare, Il Panino, Antico Forno, Cobblestone, Terramia, Damian’s, the Monica’s restaurants & more were were gathering out in the street maskless for a rally with Dr. Shiva calling the virus a hoax in THE SPRING. They had a loud, factless tantrum on Hanover Street about their “freedom” saying they weren’t going to follow safety protocols & would sue. One of the brothers from Monica’s even got retweeted by Trump.

After a couple weeks of reporting their own egregious safety violations through every available channel, the Trump stan who owns Antico Forno, Terramia & Cobblestone was on Howie Carr whining about all the health code violations she had received as if it was some sort of conspiracy. You geniuses went to great pains to report yourselves!!

Take a look at at the personal social media of any of those restaurant owners. Look in the FEC database & see how many of them are maxed out Trump donors. These people are dangerous ideologues. They will not admit virus is real, let alone follow basic safety rules. Truly stunning considering the hundreds of thousands of Covid cases linked to the Biogen conference in the neighborhood, complete with several group dinners at the North End restaurants.

Rabia’s isn’t the only restaurant that has shown their “brazenness” during this pandemic. There should be a special detail in the North End. Shut down all of the greedy, dangerous ideologues & make room for restaurant owners who actually care about their community. Or at least can follow basic safety rules in an international public health crisis.

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To play music on the downtown platforms?

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Yes, the subway "buskers" are still everywhere. I put it in quotations because the days of actual musicians playing in T stations are long, long gone. All one sees now are panhandlers with karaoke machines and occasional acapella people drunkenly mumbling off key. Nobody playing actual musical instruments anymore. I don't know why this is even allowed.

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They certainly are. Go to the Downtown Crossing Orange Line station at rush hour. There is a gentleman singing loudly and off-key without a mask, while recorded music blares loudly. I like music, but doubt this qualifies, have to go down to the end of the platform not to hear him.

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I doubt any actual public performance permits are being issued these days, so all that's left are the amateurs.

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I never got that far. They knew I was Black.
No host, +1.

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Shut them down.

This is happening elsewhere and a good example set for other scofflaws will do much to protect the public

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Probably didn't help that the meathead Ginzo owner was all over social media telling Charlie Baker to "vaffanculo"

“God fucking forbid you go to a restaurant, and you have to have fucking 5 people in there, and that’s it. And now the mask mandate, you have to keep the mask the whole time while you’re sitting down? GO. FUCK. YOURSELF!!! It ain’t happening!! 90 minutes per party? It ain’t happening!!!! Sit with only family? It ain’t happening!!!”

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Come on, man. No need for ethnic slurs; there’s plenty of legit ways to slag this guy.

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Sorry, I forgot how bad the Italians have it these days...

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Thanks.

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Rules don't change because your restaurant is in the North End. This video is gross.

Shut it down.

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If it had been an accordion or bagpipe, that would have caused some social distancing real quick.

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Can't be a bagpipe, because wind instruments could spread the virus, but perhaps a masked accordionist could intervene in superspreader situations like this.

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Irish bagpipes wouldn't be an issue, since they are filled by bellows rather than by mouth.

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free jazz.

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Because nobody would pay for it.

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