Governor Cuomo Announces Suspension of Liquor Licenses for 7 Bars in New York City, Westchester, and Erie County after Egregious Violations of Coronavirus-Related Regulations
Multi-Agency Task Force Conducted 835 Compliance Checks Tuesday Night, Observed 41 Additional Violations
During Coronavirus Public Health Emergency, 64 Businesses’ Liquor Licenses Have Been Suspended
549 Charges Filed and Processed During Pandemic, Updated List of Suspensions and Charges Available Here
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the state has suspended liquor licenses for 7 bars — five in New York City, one in Westchester County, and one in Erie County — after finding egregious violations of pandemic-related Executive Orders. On Wednesday night, the state’s multi-agency task force, led by the State Police and State Liquor Authority, conducted 835 compliance checks and documented violations at 41 establishments. Since Monday, the task force has completed 1,966 compliance checks and observed 96 violations, for a non-compliance rate of almost 5%. 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.
“The rising rate of infection among young people and the issue of crowded bars is not unique to New York — the World Health Organization has warned about it, states all across the country are dealing with it, and even the President has said young people should avoid bars — but we are taking decisive action in the Empire State to make sure it does not undermine our progress against the coronavirus,” Governor Cuomo said. “Last night, our task force observed violations at 41 more establishments downstate, and today we are suspending 7 bars from across the state that have flouted coronavirus-related rules. The State Police and State Liquor Authority are doing their jobs — and we need local governments to step up and do theirs.”
State Liquor Authority Chair Vincent Bradley said: “We will continue to hold licensees accountable for protecting New Yorkers’ health and safety in bars and restaurants. New Yorkers have sacrificed to bend the curve of coronavirus, and at a time when dozens of states are seeing cases surge, we all have a shared responsibility to keep this virus at bay.”
Last night, state investigators observed violations at 41 establishments, and formal charges are being prepared. The geographic breakdown of observed violations from last night includes:
- The Bronx — 5
- Brooklyn — 2
- Manhattan — 20
- Queens — 11
- Nassau – 3
Seven establishments were issued emergency orders of summary suspension from the State Liquor Authority Board following a meeting on July 30th:
“Atlantic Bar” at 84 Croton Avenue in Ossining
The SLA received a referral from the Village of Ossining Police Department regarding an incident at the establishment on July 24th. On that date, officers observed several patrons congregating outside, with the front door to the business locked. Officers had the owner open the front door, where they observed numerous patrons inside drinking and mingling with no facial coverings and no food being served.
“The Village Line” at 1809 Kenmore Avenue in Kenmore
On July 24th, in response to complaints that the premises does not serve food, an SLA investigator entered the tavern and observed three patrons seated at the bar drinking alcohol without food. After requesting a menu from an employee, the investigator was told he could go next door for pizza and bring it back to the bar — an admission that no food was available. The tavern was charged with violating Executive Order 202.52 for serving alcohol without food, in addition to a charge of “non bona fide” for not having food available, which has been a requirement of all licensed taverns dating back to 1964.
“Hi Life Bar & Grill” at 477 Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan
On July 29th, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force observed patrons seated and being served inside, under a permanent structure, in violation of the NYS Department of Health’s interim guidance for outdoor service.
“Bar Tabac” at 128 Smith Street in Brooklyn
On July 24th, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force observed seven employees without facial coverings, including the premises’ manager, a bartender, the host, and four members of the kitchen staff. The licensee was well aware of the requirements, with prior violations of the Governor’s Executive Orders in June.
“Republic” at 33-29 Astoria Boulevard in Astoria
On July 24th, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force observed the premises open and operating at 12:30 am, in violation of New York City’s 11 p.m. curfew for outside service, and with a large number of patrons consuming alcohol and smoking hookah on the sidewalk, interspersed with seated patrons, all directly in front of the premises.
“Kabu Bar Lounge” at 85-09 Northern Boulevard in Jackson Heights
On July 24th, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force observed 25 patrons standing, drinking and congregating in front of the premises, ignoring social distancing regulations, and being served by a waitress without a facial covering. Kabu Bar Lounge is a repeat offender, with pending charges for EO violations on June 26th and 30th.
“Lalile Steakhouse” at 91-01 91-05 Astoria Boulevard in East Elmhurst
On July 25th, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force observed at least 17 patrons standing and drinking in front of the premises, without facial coverings or observing social distancing guidelines. The SLA also has a referral from the NYPD describing a large number of patrons drinking in front of the premises after New York City’s 11 p.m. curfew for outside service on July 18th, including patrons drinking, standing, and congregating.
The emergency suspensions were ordered by Chairman Bradley, Commissioner Lily Fan and Commissioner Greeley Ford at a special meeting of the Full Board on July 30th conducted by a digitally recorded video under social distancing guidelines.
After state investigators observe violations, formal charges are then filed and fines may be issued. 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.