‘It was packed’: Patrons say they may have contracted virus at South End sushi bar

‘It was packed’: Patrons say they may have contracted virus at South End sushi bar

CHARLOTTE — Many people have told Channel 9 that they are concerned about large gatherings at Nikko Restaurant and Sushi Bar in South End.

A video surfaced from last weekend that showed patrons packed into the crowded restaurant with no social distancing and few people wearing face coverings.

[VIDEO: Patrons pack South End restaurant without social distancing, masks]

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The Department of Health and Human Services warned the restaurant about violating COVID-19 regulations and on Thursday, sources told Channel 9 that the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department cited Nikko for the large crowds in the viral video, and issued them a violation that goes to the ABC board.

According to CMPD, detectives with the department’s ABC Unit issued a citation to James Nix, the restaurant owner and permittee, for the Governor’s Executive Order. The police department has also notified state ABC representatives concerning the violation and the state will determine whether any additional penalties are appropriate, according to CMPD.

A woman told Channel 9 reporter DaShawn Brown she had notified a staff member at Nikko about at least four positive COVID-19 cases. Since then, the 25-year-old woman, who did not want to be identified, said 11 people from her party have tested positive.

“This has been going on for months,” the woman said. “I see my friends and acquaintances on social media there every single weekend.”

The woman said she tested positive for the coronavirus a week after going to Nikko.

“When we got in there, it was kind of like this unspoken social contract of nobody’s wearing masks,” she said. “It was, like, ‘OK, we’re really doing this.’ I really believe that I did pick it up from there. Of course, we’ll never know.”

Another woman said she was at Nikko 10 days ago. She tested positive, as well.

“It was packed,” Karleshia Gaston-Wright said. “It was packed, and I don’t recall anybody having on a mask.”

Gaston-Wright was there celebrating her birthday and said they reserved a private room for 22 of their closest friends. She said she texted staff at Nikko after she found out her friends tested positive from her party.

“They didn’t do anything this Saturday to make any changes after being notified that, at the time, it was only three or four people, but still,” she said. “That’s three cases, one case or two cases. Either way, COVID was in that building.”

VIDEO: Patrons pack into crowded South End restaurant without social distancing, masks

Before Brown spoke with Gaston-Wright about the text, Nikko management sent a statement in response to the recent complaints and the state’s warning letter. Management said they’ve provided masks and educated their team with information from the county health department about COVID-19 safety.

Despite their best efforts, there has been a recent case where guests may not have followed guidelines.

Management is investigating the case to figure out what happened, and if needed, they’ll take corrective action.

“I’m so upset because this is affecting me. My husband is at the hospital right now because he’s having problems with his lungs,” Gaston-Wright said. “He’s had surgery on his lungs before. My daughter is sick. I’m sick. I can’t do anything. I’m so upset.”

Several videos were posted on social media over the weekend at Nikko Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar in South End that showed a large crowd with very little social distancing and few masks.
Several videos were posted on social media over the weekend at Nikko Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar in South End that showed a large crowd with very little social distancing and few masks.