A restaurant in Southampton had its liquor license suspended over the weekend after authorities said they found repeated violations of social distancing mandates intended to curb the spread of coronavirus.
New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) investigators found patrons and staffers not wearing masks, mingling without maintaining social distancing, and consuming shots of alcohol while being served at a walk-up bar — which is currently prohibited — at 75 Main on Saturday night, officials said.
“These establishments put the health of their staff, their patrons, and all New Yorkers at risk — and their actions are simply unacceptable,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said of the bar, which was one of 14 across New York State to have licenses suspended over the weekend.
The state has suspended the liquor licenses of 162 businesses due to similar violations since the pandemic began five months ago. The suspension comes after the SLA recently suspended the liquor licenses of Dox, a restaurant in Island Park, for allegedly violating crowd capacity caps, and Secrets Gentlemen’s Club, a Deer Park strip club, for allegedly serving drinks without patrons buying food and allowing exotic dancers to perform lap dances.
The owner of 75 Main recently made headlines when he torched a table once frequented by convicted pedophile and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein and convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein. Authorities say the restaurant was previously cited for allowing 75 patrons to dine indoors on June 13, more than a week before indoor dining was allowed again under phase three of the state’s reopening plan, and for staffers not wearing masks last month.
In the latest case, investigators observed a line of patrons waiting to enter the premises, ignoring social distancing, with most not wearing facial coverings at 6 p.m. Saturday, officials said. Investigators also observed two bartenders and three servers without facial coverings, authorities added.
About an hour later, investigators returned to find multiple employees and patrons standing, mingling and drinking around the bar without facial coverings, in violation of the governor’s executive order prohibiting walk-up bar service, officials said.
“At least 27 employees were working at the time of the inspection, with none of them observed attempting to control the lines or prohibit patrons from consuming alcohol while standing near the bar,” SLA said.
At 11 p.m., investigators — including Suffolk County police, Southampton village police, and members of the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office — returned again to find more than two dozen violations.
“Investigators identified 25 additional violations — including serious health hazards — and four criminal court summonses issued. In addition, earlier in the evening, an 18-year-old underage agent was able to purchase alcohol on two separate occasions without being asked for identification,” SLA added.
Lauren DeFranco, a spokeswoman for the restaurant, issued a statement in response to the allegations.
“75 Main has a zero tolerance policy for any violations of social distancing, mask requirements, or serving alcohol to anyone under the age of 21,” she said. “We have terminated the personnel involved. We are working together with the State of New York to rectify this matter and have no greater priority than providing a safe environment for our patrons.”
Related Story: Not Ordering Food? No Booze For You, Cuomo Says
For more coronavirus coverage, visit longislandpress.com/coronavirus