Bridge Street Bar manager avoids jail time for COVID-19 violation |

Bridge Street Bar manager avoids jail time for COVID-19 violation

Edward Schoenbein, manager of Bridge Street Bar, took a plea deal Tuesday to swap potential jail time for unsupervised probation

The manager of Bridge Street Bar, the Vail Village bar that admitted twice as many customers as was allowed under COVID-19 capacity limits in December 2020, took a deal to avoid potential jail time in a court appearance Tuesday afternoon.

Edward Schoenbein, 44, of Avon, pleaded “no contest” to a criminal charge of violating a COVID-19-related public health order on Tuesday, part of a plea deal that allowed Schoenbein to swap potential jail time for unsupervised probation, according to a press release from the 5th Judicial District’s Attorney’s Office.

Violation of a public health order constitutes a first-degree misdemeanor, which is punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a $500 fine.

Instead, Schoenbein received a deferred judgment with no jail sentence, according to the release. His sentencing term will end on Dec. 1 of this year, meaning he could get a heavier sentence if he is charged with further violations. He will also be on unsupervised probation until Dec. 1.

As part of the deal, Schoenbein also made a charitable donation to the District Attorney’s Charitable Contributions Fund, which supports nonprofits in Eagle, Summit, Lake and Clear Creek counties. The fund specifically assists organizations that help prevent crimes or that support victims of crimes, according to the press release.

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The bar manager was cited with the violation on Dec. 12, 2020, after a Vail police officer observed a large group of customers near Bridge Street Bar around 3 a.m, according to the release.

A review of video footage showed that 80 people left Bridge Street Bar at closing time that night, double what the bar was allowed under the COVID-19 capacity limits in effect at the time, according to the release.

The bar’s normal capacity is 158 people and COVID-19 capacity limits for restaurants and bars were set at 25% capacity at the time of the incident, meaning no more than 40 people were permitted inside Bridge Street Bar at one time.

At the time, Eagle County’s COVID-19 risk level was at the orange, high-risk level, according to reporting by the Vail Daily.

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