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Four restaurants in Suffolk County and two more in Nassau County recently had their liquor licenses suspended after authorities said the businesses violated New York State-issued coronavirus restrictions. 

The eateries were Rockwell’s Bar & Grill in Smithtown, Station Pub in Sayville, Buen Ambiente in Patchogue, Best Pizza and Dive Bar in Amagansett, Bachata in Hempstead, and Cabo Sports Bar & Mexican Grill in New Hyde Park, officials said.

“As we move into the colder weather and are forced indoors, it is imperative that businesses stay compliant across the state,” State Liquor Authority (SLA) Chair Vincent Bradley said. “New Yorkers must continue wearing masks, practicing social distancing, and following the life-saving protocols put into place to keep us all healthy.”

The six local establishments were among 36 statewide that had their licenses suspended for alleged violations in recent weeks. They are among 279 that have faced similar action since the pandemic restrictions began.

At Rockwell’s Bar & Grill, investigators said they spotted patrons standing, drinking, and walking without facial coverings in the packed bar on Nov. 20, shortly after prior violations were issued there.

On the same date at Station Pub, investigators similarly spotted mask-less patrons walking around, no evidence of food being served as required to be served alcoholic beverages, and a bartender not wearing a facial covering. The bar was also allegedly after the state-mandated 10 p.m. closing time.

“The owner refused to wear a facemask and became belligerent with investigators, refusing to provide the establishment’s liquor license or his ID — both serious violations,
independent of Covid-related rules,” authorities said in a statement.  A GoFundMe campaign was started to help raise money to pay the fines, calling the bar’s closure “a loss to all in this community.”

On Nov. 18, investigators found 43 patrons crowded inside Cabo Sports Bar & Mexican Grill, which has a maximum occupancy of 25 under Covid-related regulations, and documented numerous patrons and employees without masks, tables improperly spaced, and a complete disregard for social distancing protocols. When the investigator returned at 10:30 p.m., the patrons were still drinking, congregating, and smoking hookah.

At Buen Ambiente, Suffolk County police responded to a shooting on Oct 24. While reviewing surveillance video, the restaurant was found to have hosted a large event with more than 50 people standing shoulder-to-shoulder, drinking, dancing and smoking hookah, with two exotic dancers performing lap dances, according to the SLA. Two people were treated at a local hospital for treatment of gunshot wounds.

At Best Pizza and Dive Bar, plainclothes officers from the East Hampton Town Police
Department entered the establishment and observed about 20 patrons seated
at and standing around the crowded bar, mingling, ignoring social distancing, and not
wearing masks on Nov. 15, authorities said. No food was served with alcoholic beverages, they added. And bartenders also continually removed their facial coverings to talk to patrons, officials added.

Lastly, at Bachata, Hempstead village police and the Nassau County Fire Marshalls Office discovered 71 patrons packed inside the premises, many crowding around the bar, despite a maximum occupancy of 44 on Nov. 8. In addition to patrons ignoring social distancing rules, three employees were observed working without facial coverings and no food of any kind was observed being served, according to the SLA.

For more coronavirus coverage, visit longislandpress.com/coronavirus

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