A Mexican restaurant in Branchville, just days before today’s Cinco de Mayo celebration, was among 20 bars, restaurants, breweries and liquor stores that were charged last week with violating Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive orders.


Riviera Maya, a popular restaurant located on Route 206, is facing a 10-day suspension of its liquor license, according to the state Office of the Attorney General. Their second location in Rockaway was also found violating Murphy’s orders.


Murphy’s executive orders as it relates to restrictions of bars and restaurants went into effect on March 23. Under the order, businesses licensed to sell alcohol in the state are permitted to remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic, but only for take-out or delivery services of food and alcohol. In addition to prohibiting on-site consumption of alcohol, restaurants and bars are only allowed to sell to-go alcoholic beverages in their original, sealed containers.


Other violators of Murphy’s order include Taphouse 15 in Jefferson and the Randolph Diner, each of which is facing temporary liquor license suspension.


While the office of the Attorney General did not detail each restaurant’s offense, Riviera Maya in Branchville has posted multiple photos on their Facebook page of their “daily sangria prep” at the restaurant. The latest photo, posted on April 1, show several plastic containers lined up being filled with what they said was sangria. On March 26, the restaurant was offering family to-go packs, which came included with a pitcher of either sangria or margarita.


On April 17, in a Facebook post, the restaurant announced they were temporarily closing, noting that the “health and safety of our customers and team members is always our main priority.”


On Monday, the restaurant announced they will reopen on May 12 and will be offering “new family packs.”


Taphouse 15, in a Facebook post on March 23, stated they were offering take-out/curbside and delivery options and would be offering “beer, wine and cocktails to go.” They have since only posted canned beer options on their page.


As police continue to monitor establishments not abiding by Murphy’s orders, State Police Superintendent Col. Patrick Callahan, during the daily coronavirus briefing held in Trenton on Monday, said that overall compliance in the state has been very good.


He paid particular focus to the compliance in the state parks, which reopened in the state on Saturday morning.


“I had a call with all police chiefs across the entire state Sunday morning, and from Sussex to Cape May, just an overwhelming compliance in, what everybody know, two gorgeous days,” Callahan said.


The parks, Murphy added, will continue to be monitored in the days ahead.


Lori Comstock can also be reached on Twitter: @LoriComstockNJH, on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/LoriComstockNJH or by phone: 973-383-1194.