Governor Cuomo Announces Suspension of Six Additional New York State Liquor Licenses for Egregious Violations of Coronavirus-Related Regulations
168 Businesses’ Liquor Licenses Have Been Suspended During Public Health Emergency
Multi-Agency Task Force Conducted Nearly 6,000 Compliance Checks between Monday and Friday, Observing 35 Additional Violations in New York City and on Long Island
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the state has suspended liquor licenses for six additional bars/restaurants 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 168. Between Monday and Friday nights, the state’s multi-agency task force — led by the State Police and State Liquor Authority — conducted 5,981 compliance checks, documenting violations at 35 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.
“New Yorkers’ hard work is paying off, with the state maintaining an infection rate of less than 1% for over three weeks straight — but we must remain vigilant and continue to follow the guidelines that got us here or risk backsliding,” Governor Cuomo said. “Compliance in higher-risk industries like bars and restaurants has been key to achieving this progress, and as today’s suspensions show, the state will hold bad actors who put public health in danger accountable. The vast majority of bar owners continue to take this public health emergency seriously, but my message to the small number who openly flout the rules is simple: we will not tolerate you putting yourselves, your customers, your employees, your neighbors, and our reopening at risk.”
State Liquor Authority Chair Vincent Bradley said, “We are seeing better compliance across the state as a direct result of the hard work of the task force and the actions of conscientious business owners that are putting public health and safety first. But we’re still in the middle of a global pandemic, and the task force will continue taking action against the small number of establishments who willfully violate the coronavirus-related regulations.”
The six establishments issued emergency orders of summary suspension from the State Liquor Authority Board are located in New York City, Central New York and on Long Island.
In New York City, the borough breakdown includes:
- Brooklyn – 3
Outside of New York City, the county breakdown includes:
- Nassau – 1
- Oswego – 1
- Suffolk – 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 25th, August 27th and August 28th, 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 six bars suspended are listed below, along with information on their violations and the date of their suspensions.
“Blu Mar” at 136 Main Street in Southampton, on August 25, 2020
At approximately 6:00 pm on August 22nd, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force and officers with the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department observed a line of patrons waiting to enter the establishment while ignoring social distancing and eleven patrons standing and drinking on the patio. Investigators returned one hour later, documenting several patrons standing around the bar. Multiple patrons and staff were observed throughout the night without facial coverings. That same evening, an 18-year-old underage agent was able to purchase alcohol on two separate occasions without being asked for identification. The business is a repeat offender, with the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department previously finding the restaurant operating as a nightclub on August 16th, with a DJ; patrons dancing, not wearing facial coverings and ignoring social distancing; and an exotic entertainer dancing on top of the bar, in violation of the establishment’s license, which does not permit adult entertainment.
“Sazon Ramirez II” at 241 Nassau Road in Roosevelt, on August 25, 2020
On August 23rd, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force, the Nassau County Police Department and the Nassau County Fire Marshall conducted a joint investigation, finding the grocery store — which is not permitted to serve alcohol for on-premises consumption at all — was operating as a nightclub, with fourteen patrons drinking beer inside the premises and six employees and the owner not wearing facial coverings. In the basement, investigators discovered ten patrons drinking alcohol in a concealed room with a large screen TV, juke box and electronic gambling devices. The grocery store was issued five criminal court summonses by the Nassau County Police Department, four criminal court summonses from the Nassau County Fire Marshall, twenty building code violations, and six fire and life safety violations.
“House of Yes” at 408 Jefferson Street in Brooklyn, on August 27, 2020
On August 21st, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force observed an overcrowded nightclub-like atmosphere directly in front of the premises, with music blasting, and at least thirty patrons consuming alcohol at tables set up less than six feet apart. No food was being served, with the manager admitting the kitchen was non-operational — a violation of state law since 1964. Investigators also documented an employee without a facial covering and numerous fire and life safety violations.
“Nancy Restaurant” at 2961 Fulton Street in Brooklyn, on August 27, 2020
On August 26th, NYPD officers observed approximately ten patrons inside the premises consuming alcohol, in violation of the indoor dining restrictions that have been in effect since March 16, 2020. Officers report no food was being served, in violation of the food requirement guidelines, and that patrons were consuming liquor, even though the location is only licensed to sell beer and wine.
“The Ferris Wheel” at 6 Market Street in Oswego, on August 28, 2020
Based on numerous complaints that the bar was overcrowded with no social distancing, SLA Investigators visited the establishment on August 27th and observed approximately fifteen patrons lined up outside the bar waiting to enter. The line quickly grew to approximately twenty-five individuals, several of whom were observed without facial coverings and all ignoring social distancing. Investigators disclosed their identity and entered the premises, discovering between forty and fifty patrons on the second floor, dancing and consuming alcohol, in complete disregard of the social distancing and face covering regulations. Investigators also noted that no food was being served during the inspection. The Ferris Wheel’s liquor license had just been issued on July 8, 2020.
“Lover’s Rock” at 419 Tompkins Avenue in Brooklyn, on August 28, 2020
On August 27th, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force observed four patrons standing directly in front of the premises consuming alcohol and the establishment’s outdoor dining area extending in front of a neighboring business. Eight patrons were also observed consuming alcohol in the rear yard without food. The owner admitted to having no food service — a violation of state law since 1964 — and investigators determined the business did not have a permit from the New York City Department of Health to serve food. Investigators also observed an unlicensed security guard without a facial covering.