New York State authorities suspended the liquor licenses of four more restaurants on Long Island after investigators found alleged violations of social distancing orders enacted to curb the spread of coronavirus.
State Liquor Authority (SLA) investigators suspended the liquor licenses of Patio Italian Kitchen in Saint James, Prohibition in Massapequa Park, Giorgio’s Catering in Calverton, and Vintage Sports Bar in Wantagh, officials said Tuesday.
“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,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.
The latest SLA suspension on LI comes after the SLA recently suspended the liquor licenses of Dox, a restaurant in Island Park, Secrets Gentlemen’s Club, a Deer Park strip club, Southampton restaurants 75 Main and Blu Mar, Sazon Ramirez II, a store in Roosevelt, Off Key Tikki, a bar in Patchogue, and Toku Modern Asian in Manhasset. Mio Post in Long Beach and EB Elliot’s in Freeport also reportedly had their licenses suspended.
Investigators first visited Patio Italian Kitchen on Sept. 16 after receiving complaints of a large gathering with no social distancing, and upon arrival, authorities found about 100 individuals standing, drinking, and mingling, most without facial coverings directly outside the premises, officials said. The owner acknowledged that a planned event had spun out of control but continued to serve patrons, rather than temporarily stopping service to resolve the issue, according to the SLA.
At Prohibition, investigators observed about 35 people standing, drinking, and congregating outside the premises while inside were another 43 patrons, including three individuals standing and listening to a live band without facial coverings on Sept. 23, authorities said. 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,” the SLA said in a statement.
At Giorgio’s Catering, investigators observed 95 guests at a wedding, which is nearly twice the legal limit, on Sept. 25, officials said. 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, mostly without facial coverings, according to the SLA.
And Nassau County police found 98 people inside Vintage Sports Bar on Sept. 26, despite an occupancy of just 40 under COVID-related regulations, the SLA said. 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 agency said. Authorities said the location is a repeat offender, with previous charges pending for violations from July 11, 18, and 26.
Related Story: Off Key Tikki in Patchogue Has Liquor License Suspended
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