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Bottleworks cited for breaking COVID protocols at large March Madness party

A crowd is gathered March 20, 2021, outside the Bottleworks District in downtown Indianapolis. (Photo Provided)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A downtown business has been cited for breaking COVID-19 protocols during a massive March Madness event on Saturday.

The Marion County Public Health Department cited Bottleworks and is in the process of citing three more businesses for events during the first weekend of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.

Photos from a weekend show showed the Bottleworks District — a hotel first opened at the redeveloped Coca-Cola building in mid-December — was packed for a March Madness event thrown by Bottleworks. While the crowds seemed to be the densest outdoors, the scene was enough to earn Bottleworks the first citation of the tournament season.

Photos from a Saturday event at Bottleworks showed a massive crowd outdoors between Massachusetts Avenue and 10th Street. The photos show people piled in to watch the games, with many people disregarding the mask requirement.

“I drove past here because I wanted to come to Bottleworks, but it was wall-to-wall, and I just turned around because it was so packed,” said Aliya Lewis who lives in Indianapolis.

“I did see this, and it was crazy so I just avoided it,” Lewis said. “It was a lot of people. More than 500 obviously.”

While the outdoor event seems to have gotten out of hand, those who were inside of the bars and restaurants in the Bottleworks District over the weekend were made to comply.

“While inside I feel like they did a good job of trying to comply to the rules and regulations that are in place because of the pandemic,” said Rutgers fan Erin Buczynsky. “The bartenders were really good about trying to get people to comply if let’s say a mask was down or maybe you were getting too close to another party that wasn’t your party.”

“While we prefer to work collaboratively with these partners to protect the health of residents and visitors, we must also be proactive in ensuring critical safety protocols are followed. That’s why this weekend, we conducted seven spot checks in addition to our normal activities”

Marion County Public Health Department

One of those checks was at the Bottleworks District. After the notice of the violation from the health department, Bottleworks complied.

A representative for the health department would not confirm what businesses were being issued the three notices of violation that were pending Monday.

Bottleworks declined to comment to News 8.