NEW SHOREHAM, R.I. (WPRI) — Ballard’s Beach Resort is getting back to business as it appeals a two-week suspension of its liquor and entertainment licenses.
The R.I. Department of Business Regulation (DBR) granted Ballard’s a stay of suspension Wednesday while it reviews the case.
The decision comes with conditions, however: the resort must close at 10 p.m. and have no entertainment.
A spokesperson for Ballard’s released a statement saying the resort would reopen immediately with a full menu.
“Ballard’s formally filed an appeal yesterday with the RI Department of Business Regulation (DBR) regarding the New Shoreham Board of License Commissioner’s unfair decision to suspend our liquor license. This afternoon, the DBR stayed the suspension until a full hearing on the merits, allowing Ballard’s to reopen immediately with a full food and bar menu. We take pride in being a longtime member of the Block Island community, and the safety of both our guests and neighbors is paramount. We will continue to collaborate with the Town and our fellow Islanders while we proudly serve our valued patrons.”
The suspension was handed down Monday night by New Shoreham’s licensing board in response to a tumultuous day earlier this month that resulted in eight arrests. Thousands of people attended a reggae festival at Ballard’s, which overwhelmed security at the venue and on the ferries leaving the island later that night, according to Rhode Island State Police Capt. Peter Chabot.
During an hours-long hearing on Monday, Chabot called the scene “extremely chaotic,” saying some people were jumping the fence to get into Ballard’s and there were several verbal and physical altercations.
Ballard’s owner Steven Filippi pleaded his case Monday, arguing that the event wasn’t heavily advertised and he tried to limit the amount of people entering the resort, but the board voted to temporarily suspend its liquor and entertainment licenses.
Ballard’s appealed the decision the following day. During an hour-long hearing over Zoom, attorney Brian LaPlante said the suspension would cause an “irrecoverable loss” of business, calling it “an effective death penalty.”
A full hearing on the matter will be scheduled at a later date.