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Saturday, September 5, 2020
Home Coronavirus 16 More NYC Bars Lose Liquor Licenses Due to COVID-19 Related Violations

16 More NYC Bars Lose Liquor Licenses Due to COVID-19 Related Violations

Governor Cuomo Announces Suspension of 16 Additional New York Bars’ Liquor Licenses for Egregious Violations of Coronavirus-Related Regulations 

148 Businesses’ Liquor Licenses Have Been Suspended During Public Health Emergency

Multi-Agency Task Force Conducted Over 3,300 Compliance Checks this Weekend, Observing 66 Additional Violations in New York City and on Long Island

812 Charges Have Been Filed and Processed To Date; Updated List of Suspensions and Charges Available HERE

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the state has suspended liquor licenses for sixteen additional bars in New York State after finding egregious violations of pandemic-related Executive Orders, bringing the total number of liquor licenses suspended during the coronavirus pandemic to 148. Between Friday and Sunday nights, the state’s multi-agency task force — led by the State Police and State Liquor Authority — conducted 3,375 compliance checks, documenting violations at 66 establishments. Businesses found in violation of COVID-19 regulations face fines up to $10,000 per violation, while egregious violations can result in the immediate suspension of a bar or restaurant’s liquor license.

“Five months into this pandemic, New Yorkers have bent the curve — achieving and maintaining one of the lowest rates of infection in the country, including ten straight days with less than 1% of tests returning positive — but with outbreaks across the nation, we cannot let our guard down. These bar regulations are designed to keep New Yorkers safe, and the State Liquor Authority and State Police are stepping up to supplement local enforcement and make sure the rules are followed,” Governor Cuomo said. “My message to bar owners is the same: this is about protecting the health of your employees, your patrons, and the public writ large. These are serious violations, and we are taking aggressive action because there are simply no more excuses for non-compliance.”

State Liquor Authority Chair Vincent Bradley said, “The hard work of the task force appears to be having a positive effect on compliance with the Governor’s Executive Orders. But as long as the coronavirus continues to present a very real and dangerous threat to our communities, we will continue our efforts to hold licensees accountable.”

The sixteen establishments issued emergency orders of summary suspension from the State Liquor Authority Board are located in New York City, the Mohawk Valley and on Long Island.

In New York City, that includes:

  • Bronx – 3
  • Brooklyn – 3
  • Manhattan – 6
  • Queens – 1

Those outside of New York City include:

  • Herkimer – 1
  • Oneida – 1
  • Nassau – 1

The emergency suspensions were ordered by Chairman Bradley, Commissioner Lily Fan and Commissioner Greeley Ford at special meetings of the Full Board on August 14th, 15th and 16th, conducted by a digitally recorded video under social distancing guidelines. Emergency Summary Suspensions are imposed when the SLA finds the continued operation of a licensed business threatens public health and safety. Suspension orders are served immediately and remain in effect indefinitely, with the maximum penalty including the permanent revocation of the license and fines of up to $10,000 per violation. Licensees subject to an emergency suspension are entitled to an expedited hearing before an SLA Administrative Law Judge.

The bars suspended over the weekend are listed below, along with information on their violations and the date of their suspensions.

“River’s Edge” at 657-659 Lenox Avenue in Manhattan, on August 16, 2020 

On August 15th, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force observed approximately fifteen patrons standing and drinking directly outside the premises, most without facial coverings. Inside, investigators documented five patrons sitting at the bar consuming alcohol, in flagrant violation of the Governors’ Executive Order in place since March 16, 2020 restricting indoor dining. Investigators also observed three employees not wearing facial coverings and found no evidence that food was being served — in violation of the state’s Alcohol Beverage Control Law dating back to 1964.

“El Porton Bar & Restaurant” at 576 Southern Boulevard in the Bronx, on August 16, 2020 

On August 15th, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force observed eleven patrons consuming alcohol inside the premises, in violation of the Governors’ Executive Order in place since March 16, 2020 restricting indoor dining.

“El Viejo Gran Café” at 498 East 138th Street in the Bronx, on August 16, 2020

On August 15th, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force observed six patrons consuming alcohol and eating inside the premises in violation of the Governors’ Executive Order restricting indoor dining, in addition to two employees and the owner without facial coverings.

“La Espiga 3 Estrellas” at 558 Southern Boulevard in the Bronx, on August 16, 2020 

On August 15th, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force observed eleven patrons consuming alcohol and eating inside the premises in violation of the Governors’ Executive Order restricting indoor dining.

“Palace of Zuly” at 913 Wyckoff Avenue in Queens, on August 16, 2020 

On August 15th , NYPD officers observed sixteen patrons consuming alcohol and eating inside the premises, including several at the bar sitting shoulder-to-shoulder, in violation of the Governors’ Executive Order restricting indoor dining. Two employees and a manager were observed without facial coverings. The officers also found the business illegally selling hookah without a permit.

“Villa’s Lounge 2” at 130-132 Audubon Avenue in Manhattan, on August 16, 2020 

On August 14th, as investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force approached the premises, they heard loud music, which was encouraging approximately twenty patrons to drink and congregate directly in front of the restaurant after the 11:00 p.m. curfew for outside dining in New York City. Tables were blocking pedestrian walkways and were not properly spaced, with numerous patrons standing shoulder-to-shoulder without facial coverings. There was no food observed being served during the inspection, with investigators also documenting two employees and a manger without facial coverings.   

“Tempest Bar” at 407 8th Avenue in Manhattan, on August 15, 2020   
On August 14th, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force observed approximately twenty patrons standing and drinking directly outside the premises. Inside, investigators documented twenty patrons consuming alcohol while standing at the bar in flagrant violation of the Governors’ Executive Order in place since March 16, 2020 restricting indoor dining.

“Picante” at 3424 Broadway in Manhattan, on August 15, 2020

On August 15th, at approximately 1:00 am — two hours after New York City’s curfew for outdoor dining — investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force observed at least ten patrons standing in front of the premises without masks, consuming alcohol at a plainly illegal stand-up bar window. In addition to the illegal bar window, investigators also observed a live DJ, creating a nightclub atmosphere. In addition, four patrons were found standing and drinking inside the premises at the bar, four employees working in the kitchen were observed without facial coverings, and the evidence reflected no food was being served with alcohol.

“Rico Pollo” at 3352 Fulton Street in Brooklyn, on August 15, 2020   

On August 13th, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force observed two patrons inside the premises eating and drinking, in addition to several patrons lined up inside without facial coverings ordering food, all in violation of the Governors’ Executive Orders in place since March 16, 2020 restricting indoor service. At least ten employees were observed without facial coverings, including the manager, who admitted he could not control the crowds gathered inside. The kitchen was also observed to be extremely unsanitary and a serious health hazard.

“Juanito’s Grocery” at 144 Sherman Avenue in Manhattan, on August 15, 2020    

On August 14th, NYPD officers and investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force discovered the licensed grocery store — which is not permitted to serve alcohol for on-premises consumption at all — operating as an outdoor nightclub, with table and chairs set up outside, a speaker blasting music, and a window through which alcohol was being served. Approximately 25 patrons were congregating, drinking, and dancing in front of the premises. In addition, hard liquor was being served even though the grocery was only licensed to sell beer. NYPD officers arrested the store clerk, charging her with illegally selling prescription medications, possession and sale of liquor without a license, and failure to comply with social distancing regulations.

“Side Street” at 2 Otsego Street in Mohawkon August 15, 2020   

On August 14th, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force entered the premises and found a standing room only bar scene, with approximately 30 patrons in the bar area, none of whom were wearing facial coverings. Investigators ordered and were served alcoholic beverages without being seated and without food from a bartender who was not wearing a facial covering. The investigators also observed numerous patrons drinking and milling about, including two who were playing pool near the back of the premises.

“Dick Smith’s Tavern” at 1310 Schuyler Street in Utica, on August 15, 2020 

On August 14th, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force observed approximately 30 patrons standing and congregating around the bar area inside the premises, with every seat at the bar filled and several patrons walking around, drinking and mingling without facial coverings. Investigators ordered and were served alcoholic beverages without food from a bartender who was not wearing a facial covering, and noted no patrons ordered or consumed food.

“El Ambiente Restaurant Patio and Lounge” at 2896 Fulton Street in Brooklyn, on August 14, 2020

On August 13th, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force observed over 80 patrons — including some who were standing and not socially distancing — consuming alcohol in a cramped, indoor space with tables too close together. In addition, at least twelve patrons were congregating in front of the premises, drinking and ignoring social distancing guidelines. Investigators also documented several employees without proper facial coverings, including a bartender, a valet, a member of the kitchen staff, and two members of the waitstaff.

“Mio Posto” at 777 West Beech Street in Long Beach, on August 14, 2020

On August 8th, officers with the Long Beach Police Department, responding to complaints from this New Yorkers in this residential neighborhood, heard extremely loud music emanating from the premises and observed twenty patrons congregating outside. Upon entering, officers observed approximately 200 patrons inside the restaurant, which has a maximum occupancy of just 145 under COVID-related regulations. Approximately half of the patrons were in a room with no tables, standing, drinking, ignoring social distancing guidelines, and not wearing facial coverings. The Long Beach Police Department reports that they had previously issued warnings to the premises on two separate occasions in late July.

“St. Dymphna’s” at 117 Avenue A in Manhattan, on August 14, 2020

On August 11th, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force observed numerous patrons standing, drinking, and ignoring social distancing guidelines outside the premises, with multiple customers observed ordering beverages from a takeout window. Investigators checking sales receipts found that practically no food was purchased with orders that evening, in violation of the Governor’s Executive Orders. This was the third strike for this business, a repeat offender that the SLA had charged for violating the Governor’s Executive Orders on June 26th and on August 10th.

 

“Faro Sports Bar & Lounge” at 3247 Fulton Street in Brooklyn, on August 14, 2020

On August 13th, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force found a speaker blasting loud music in front of this premises, encouraging numerous patrons to congregate and linger directly outside. In addition, five employees were observed without facial coverings. Investigators determined that the establishment’s liquor license had been illegally sold to a third party without the approval of the SLA and charged the licensee with “availing” the license by allowing persons who are not approved by the SLA to own or operate the premises. With the SLA-approved licensee not present to ensure the public could be protected from the spread of COVID-19 and other dangers, the Board suspended the premise’s license.

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