Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Governor Cuomo Announces 16 Additional Bar and Restaurants' Liquor Licenses Suspended for Egregious Violations of Coronavirus-Related Regulations


217 Businesses' Liquor Licenses Have Been Suspended During Public Health Emergency

Multi-Agency Task Force Conducted Over 8,600 Compliance Checks Over the Last Week, Observing 40 Additional Violations in New York City and on Long Island

1,161 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 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
  • Brooklyn- 4
  • 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.

"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. 

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