Local bars have liquor licenses suspended after COVID-19 violations

Coronavirus

NEW YORK STATE (WSYR-TV) — On Friday, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that 21 bars and restaurants across the state had their liquor licenses suspended after they were found to be in violations of coronavirus-related Executive Orders.

So far, 238 bars and restaurants have been found in violation, and each faces fines of up to $10,000 per violation.

“Rules are only as good as enforcement, and as we have ramped up checks on bars and restaurants, compliance has increased, creating a safer environment for everyone. A small number of business owners still don’t think the rules apply to them — even in focus zones where the state has tracked increased spread — and these suspensions should serve as a reminder that we will take action against those who callously put New Yorkers in harm’s way,” Governor Cuomo said. “As we continue to fight clusters across the state, bar and restaurant owners should know that the State’s task force will keep enforcing the law, and if they do not follow the rules they will lose their right to serve alcohol.” 

Those establishments caught in violation of those enforcements are below:

“Breeze’s Banquet & Event Center” at 215 Leland Avenue in Utica, on September 30, 2020

Based on reports from the Oneida County Department of Health and a complaint from a guest who attended a wedding, SLA investigators learned that the venue hosted a wedding on September 4th attended by approximately 160 guests. Tables were spaced less than six feet apart, with guests mingling, ordering drinks directly from the bar, and failing to observe social distancing. Approximately fifty guests were dancing, most without facial coverings, and a DJ made an announcement asking guests to refrain from posting pictures on social media for fear they would be cited by the Department of Health. The licensee had previously been warned on two separate occasions by the SLA to follow state guidelines, including the day before this event. The venue falsely advised the SLA that the premises had not been holding weddings and would not be holding one on September 4.

“Tiki Bar North” at 401A Boody’s Hill Road in Waterloo, on October 2, 2020

On September 26th, following complaints of social distancing violations, an SLA investigator made an undisclosed visit to the premises, observing approximately sixty patrons gathered at the bar and outdoor areas. Investigators observed twelve patrons standing at the bar consuming alcohol, in addition to several patrons walking up to the bar to order drinks, most without facial coverings and all in violation of the Governor’s Executive Orders. The investigator purchased a drink without food from a bartender without a facial covering and observed the owner behind the bar without a facial covering. The outdoor area was packed with patrons crammed into picnic tables not properly distanced from each other, with people moving freely from table to table and ignoring social distancing, most without facial coverings.  

“David’s Hideaway” at 68 Route 11 in Central Square, on October 4, 2020

On October 2nd, following complaints of social distancing violations, SLA investigators made an undisclosed visit to the premises, observing approximately twenty patrons inside and two bartenders without facial coverings. Within half an hour, a band began to perform and the crowd doubled in size, reaching the point where there were no seats available to accommodate patrons. Investigators observed numerous patrons standing and drinking throughout the premises, including approximately twenty patrons crowded around the bar, most without facial coverings. This business is a repeat offender and was fined $1,500 in late August for Executive Order violations, including lack of social distancing and employees without facial coverings. 

“Hitchin Post Tavern” at 404 Court Street in Watertown, on October 7, 2020

On September 27th, in response to complaints of a large gathering inside the premises, the Watertown Police arrived at the tavern, discovering over seventy patrons packed inside — double the maximum occupancy under COVID-related regulations. Additional patrons were gathered at an outside area directly behind the premises. Police reported a total lack of social distancing both inside and behind the premises, with patrons freely entering and exiting the establishment through the back door and numerous patrons standing shoulder-to-shoulder inside, most without facial coverings. The scene resembled conditions depicted in a disturbing video of these premises that had previously circulated on social media and had been reported in the local news.

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