Staff Quit at WA Bar With ‘Catch COVID’ Event, Discounts for Infected

  • Workers at a Washington bar quit over an event aimed at spreading COVID-19, its owner said.
  • Vessel Taphouse offered a discount for people with a positive test, per local reports.
  • The bar later said the promotion was not serious and had been an “ill-advised attempt at humor.”

Four staff quit and three bands canceled at a Washington bar after the venue advertised an event to “maybe” catch COVID-19 and offered a discount for those with a positive test, according to local reports. 

The resignations at the Vessel Taphouse in Lynwood, near Seattle, followed attempts to attract patrons with the prospect of getting sick.

A Facebook post hyping the event said: “Omicron and Vessel present the ‘Too sick to attend’ show!,” according to local outlet the Daily Herald. 

“Come see the show, maybe catch the virus or just stay home and whine,” the ad continued. “Tickets 10 bucks or 6 with Omicron positive test!! Have you had enough???”

(Positive COVID test results generally do not specify a variant, thoughsince December the majority of US cases have been Omicron.)

The post has since been deleted. Bar owner Steve Hartley since told the Herald that the post was “an ill-advised attempt at humor” made by a member of staff who no longer worked there.

He denied wanting to infect patrons with the virus. “Clearly we have no interest in that,” he told the paper. “People aren’t going to come and drink if they get sick, and we know that.”

Hartley did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment. 

After a local backlash, the bar responded with a slew of comments offering apologies and discounts, which were also later deleted, the Herald reported. 

The bar’s Instagram page now has a statement “from Vessel’s Legal Counsel,” saying: “Vessel crew wear masks as required by law. If you don’t feel safe in a public setting, please don’t come to Vessel.”

It also suggested the bar has received threats of violence. “It is NEVER acceptable to advocate violence NKR, such as burning Vessel to the ground. Nor to defame us. STOP NOW,” the post read.

It is not clear what the abbreviation NKR referred to.

A post shared by Vessel Taphouse (@vesselpirate)

One of the three bands reported to have quit the event, Atrocity Girl, posted to Facebook on January 22 saying: “After talking it over, we feel really disturbed that this post was ever allowed to be made.

“We do not condone this behavior and do not think COVID is a joke.”

Johnny Angel, one of the band members, told local channel KIRO7: “I was really, really disappointed that anybody could ever really make a post like that.”

According to The New York Times COVID-19 cases tracker, 10,838 people had died with the virus in Washington as of the end of January 2022.

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