Castro’s says brush with law over customers inside shop a ‘misunderstanding’

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Castro’s on Elm Street in Manchester. Google Maps

MANCHESTER, NH – Police visited Casto’s Back Room Tuesday night after receiving a tip that people may be inside the business, a violation of the Governor’s guidance on the reopening of bars and restaurants.

Heather Hamel, police information officer, said when officers arrived at the business Tuesday night there were about a half-dozen people inside.

The officers told the clerk that even as a retail shop, the business was not allowed to have customers inside. The employee then abided by the order.

A Castro’s employee who answered a reporter’s telephone call Wednesday afternoon said it was all a misunderstanding.

The man, who declined to give his name because he said Wednesday was his last day working at the business, said the cigar bar was operating as a retail business.  Inside, customers were social distancing as they puffed on a cigar.  They were provided with homemade facemasks, he said. Hand sanitizers were also available.

Alcohol was being served outdoors, not inside the cigar bar, he said. 

Now, he said, people can come into the business, buy a cigar but then go outside to smoke it. 

Hamel said police notified the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services, the NH Attorney General’s Office and the State Liquor Commission. 

“Manchester Police are educating and warning people,” she said.

The Attorney General’s Office decides whether any action is taken against a business, according to Hamel.

Associate Attorney General James T. Boffetti said police issued a warning to the business, “which allows the business to be educated about what is required under the Governor’s Executive Order and to comply with that order going forward.”