Governor Cuomo Announces 16 Additional Liquor License Suspensions
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the state has suspended liquor licenses for 16 additional bars and 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 217. Over the last week, the state’s multi-agency task force — led by the State Police and State Liquor Authority — conducted 8,634 compliance checks, documenting violations at 40 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.
In addition, the SLA continues its enforcement efforts throughout the rest of the state, with a focus in and around college areas and counties with upticks in COVID-19 cases. Suspensions in Albany, Dutchess, and Ontario Counties are a direct result of this detail’s work. The SLA will continue to patrol these areas to protect New Yorkers during the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure colleges can continue to operate.
“Our heightened enforcement efforts are clearly making a difference – leading to more compliance and fewer violations, which has always been the goal. However, some business owners still believe these health and safety measures are optional, and we will not hesitate to hold those who recklessly put their fellow New Yorkers’ health and safety at risk accountable,” Governor Cuomo said. “With the start of flu season upon us, colleges and schools opening, and localized coronavirus clusters in the state, we cannot take any chances – and we must continue to enforce the rules that helped us beat back this deadly virus.”
State Liquor Authority Chair Vincent Bradley said, “The task force has been working diligently to stop the small number of businesses who feel they are above the law from putting the public’s health and safety at risk. There are more good apples in New York than bad, and we want to thank those who have been adapting to these tough situations and working to keep their employees and patrons healthy.”
The 16 establishments issued emergency orders of summary suspension from the State Liquor Authority Board are located in New York City, Long Island, Mid-Hudson and Capital Region.
In New York City, that includes:
Bronx – 1
Manhattan – 1
Queens – 1
Those outside of New York City include:
Albany – 1
Dutchess – 2
Nassau – 2
Oneida – 1
Ontario – 1
Suffolk – 2
The emergency suspensions were ordered by Chairman Bradley, Commissioner Lily Fan and Commissioner Greeley Ford at special meetings of the Full Board between September 19th and September 27th 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 16 bars and restaurants suspended are listed below, along with information on their violations and the date of their suspensions.
“Los Cabos Cantina & Restaurant” at 4015 5th Avenue in Brooklyn, on September 19, 2020
On September 17th, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force observed the front window of the premises covered, in an effort to conceal nine patrons inside, seated at booths and at the bar consuming alcohol in flagrant violation of the Governors’ Executive Order in place since March 16, 2020. Investigators also observed a bartender and a member of the waitstaff without facial coverings. No food was being served — another violation of executive order — and the kitchen was closed.
“Tale” at 683 5th Avenue in Brooklyn, on September 19, 2020
On September 17th, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force and NYPD officers observed curtains hanging in the front window, an effort to conceal eleven patrons inside the premises, including three seated and two standing at the bar, three playing pool without facial coverings, and three seated at a table — all in flagrant violation of the Governors’ Executive Order in place since March 16, 2020.
“Patio Italian Kitchen” at 244 Lake Avenue in Saint James, on September 19, 2020
Based on complaints of a large gathering with no social distancing, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force visited the establishment on September 16th and observed approximately one hundred individuals gathered directly outside the premises. Numerous patrons were standing, drinking, and mingling, most without facial coverings. After making observations, investigators spoke to the owner who admitted that the planned event had spun out of control — however the establishment apparently continued to serve patrons, rather than temporarily stopping service to alleviate the immediate public health concern.
“Johnnie’s on Broadway” at 1278 Broadway in Albany, on September 19, 2020
On September 18th, SLA investigators observed approximately fifteen patrons standing in front of the main entrance of the premises, drinking and mingling without facial coverings. Investigators then entered the premises and found approximately seventy patrons without facial coverings standing, drinking and walking around the bar area, ignoring social distancing. The undercover investigator waited for a full fifteen minutes at the packed bar to order a drink, which was served without food, and noted no food was ordered by any patrons. In addition, investigators found an approximately thirty additional patrons standing, congregating, and consuming beverages without any facial coverings or social distancing at the back of the premises, including eight patrons who were dancing. The bar’s owner had previously been warned by SLA investigators on July 22nd following complaints of social distancing violations and was informed the SLA would be making periodic follow up inspections.
“Craft 302 Restaurant” at 302 Main Street in Poughkeepsie, September 19, 2020
On September 18th, SLA investigators and officers with the Town of Poughkeepsie Police Department observed eight employees inside the premises without facial coverings, including a security guard and hostess at the entrance, three bartenders, a cook and two additional security guards inside. Investigators observed seven patrons standing at the bar without facial coverings, in addition to approximately twenty patrons drinking at booths throughout the premises without food. While the owner maintained all of the patrons had ordered food, he could only produce two receipts that listed food items.
“Starz Princess” at 107-11 101st Avenue in Queens, on September 19, 2020
On September 18th, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force and NYPD officers observed approximately ten individuals without facial coverings loitering directly in front of the premises, including several with beverages in open cups. Inside, investigators found at least twenty-five patrons without facial coverings ignoring social distancing. The owner admitted to booking an indoor event for one-hundred-fifty guests, in flagrant violation of the Governor’s Executive Orders in place since March 16, 2020.
“Brooklyn Jazz & Sports Club” at 3523 Church Avenue in Brooklyn, on September 21, 2020
On September 19th, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force and NYPD officers observed extremely loud music coming from inside the premises, encouraging six patrons without facial coverings to congregate and drink in front of the establishment, ignoring social distancing guidelines. Despite several patrons exiting through a back door when the inspection team entered the premises, they still found a DJ playing music and at least twenty patrons and five employees still inside — in flagrant violation of the Governors’ Executive Order in place since March 16, 2020 restricting indoor dining. Additionally, no food was being served, with investigators noting the kitchen was closed for the evening.
“The Hills Restaurant and Lounge” at 4706 Church Avenue in Brooklyn, on September 21, 2020
On September 19th, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force and NYPD officers observed six patrons standing and drinking directly in front of the premises, ignoring social distancing. In the rear yard of the premises, investigators observed one-hundred and six patrons crowded under two tents, one of which was closed on three sides, violating Department of Health guidelines. Clusters of patrons were seated in groups of more than ten individuals, numerous patrons were standing without facial coverings, and neither a security guard nor the owner were wearing facial coverings. In addition, the NYC Department of Buildings had an active vacate order on the premises, prohibiting the use of the rear yard.
“Bice Cucina” at 1350 Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan, on September 23, 2020
On September 22nd, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force observed patrons inside the restaurant consuming alcohol, including eleven patrons at three separate tables and another six patrons observed drinking at the bar, all in flagrant violation of the Governor’s Executive Orders in place since March 16, 2020.
“Rylie J’s on Seneca” at 38 Seneca Street in Geneva, on September 23, 2020
As part of the SLA’s enforcement efforts focused on college area bars, SLA investigators entered the premises on September 17th for an undisclosed investigation, observing six college-age patrons standing at a table without facial coverings, consuming alcohol without food, and another group of seven patrons without facial coverings at a nearby table standing and consuming alcohol. Investigators witnessed two patrons without facial coverings order directly from the bar, and then followed suit, ordering and being served alcohol from the bar without food. By the time investigators exited the bar a half-hour later, the bar was packed with approximately forty-five patrons who were mingling and ignoring social distancing, most without facial coverings.
“Prohibition” at 109 Front Street in Massapequa Park, on September 24, 2020
On September 23rd, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force observed a large crowd of approximately thirty-five patrons standing, drinking and congregating outside the premises. Inside, investigators observed approximately forty-three patrons, including three individuals standing and listening to a live band without facial coverings. The restaurant’s owner told investigators that he cannot control the crowds gathered outside his licensed premises, but apparently chose to not temporarily stop service to mitigate the public health concern.
“Quartchetti’s Roadside Café” at 387 Route 9 in Fishkill, on September 26, 2020
On September 25th, SLA investigators found a band playing under a tent with approximately fifty patrons present, including at least thirty who were standing and mingling without facial coverings and ten who were dancing. Investigators observed a bartender inside the premises without a facial covering, in addition to three bartenders at an outside bar who were also not wearing facial coverings. Quartchetti’s Roadside Café liquor license had just been issued on August 27, 2020.
“Twin Ponds Golf & Country Club” at 169 Main Street in New York Mills, on September 26, 2020
On September 15th, SLA investigators received reports from the Oneida County Department of Health that the licensee admitted to hosting a wedding on August 29th with more than one hundred patrons present — twice the legal limit allowed during the COVID-19 pandemic and more than fifty percent of the premises’ legal occupancy. The Oneida County DOH reported patrons were not required to wear facial coverings, chairs were spaced less than two feet apart, and that no hand sanitizer was made available. Most worryingly, the licensee reportedly failed to close off, clean and disinfect areas that had been inhabited by a person later confirmed to test positive for COVID-19.
“Giorgio’s Catering” at 100 Fox Hill Drive in Calverton, on September 26, 2020
On September 25th, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force observed ninety-five patrons at a wedding reception at the premises — nearly twice the legal limit. Half of the patrons were observed standing and mingling inside the premises, while the other half were outside on a deck, standing, socializing, and drinking — most without facial coverings.
“Vintage Sports Bar” at 3037-3039 Merrick Road in Wantagh, on September 26, 2020
On September 26th, the Nassau County Police Department inspected the establishment, finding ninety-eight patrons inside the premises, despite an occupancy of just forty under COVID-related regulations. Officers report the premises was overcrowded to the point where social distancing was not possible, with numerous patrons dancing, standing and mingling without facial coverings. The location is a repeat offender, with previous charges pending for Executive Order violations from July 11th, 18th and 26th.
“La Fuente Steak House” at 1306 Jerome Avenue in the Bronx, on September 27, 2020
On August 26th, investigators with the state’s multi-agency task force and officers with the NYPD observed over thirty patrons standing and congregating, drinking, and smoking hookah in this business’ sidewalk café area and on the street and sidewalk extending in front of a neighboring business. Over ten patrons were seated under a tented area, which was enclosed on three sides, making it a prohibited indoor-type seating area. Multiple employees were observed without facial coverings, including members of the kitchen staff and a bartender. The business is a repeat offender, with pending charges filed just one day earlier for violations including no food service and employees without facial coverings, in addition to operating a hookah establishment without a permit.