Robke’s Country Inn’s Liquor License Suspended For Alleged Covid-19 Violations

Close up of friends toasting with beer and having fun in a pub.
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The New York State Liquor Authority has suspended the liquor license for Robke’s Country Inn in Northport after investigators found the restaurant allegedly violating multiple Covid-19 regulations.

During a special meeting on Jan. 24, the SLA board voted unanimously to suspend the eatery’s liquor license promptly after the investigation on Jan. 23, noting the violations “as a threat to public health, safety and welfare,” said SLA Chairman Vincent G. Bradley.

“It’s clear from the investigators’ report and from photographs submitted, this licensee has shown little regard for the executive orders that are currently in place to help curb the pandemic,” said William Brennan, who served as counsel and presented the evidence.

The restaurant is one of more than a dozen on Long Island to face similar action due to pandemic restrictions, including six last month alone.

Investigators from a state task force conducting an inspection at Robke’s on Jan. 23 observed about 70 people dining inside a tent next to the restaurant, with 28 at one table and the rest at tables not spaced six feet apart, the report says. State guidelines mandate that there be no more than 10 people per table, and tables must be at least six feet apart.

Upon entering the restaurant itself, investigators found “the bar packed with patrons standing, drinking and ignoring social distancing,” officials said, with about 60 people inside. Investigators tried to enter the kitchen, but an employee blocked the entrance. They were, however, able to photograph one member of the kitchen staff without a face mask.

Afterwards, investigators observed waitstaff carrying food and drinks to patrons inside the tent after 10 p.m., when restaurants are permitted to close, and contacted the Suffolk County police.

Northport Village Police Department officers followed up with task force investigators at around 10:30 p.m., when they found two tables with 10 patrons each in the bar area, as well as a table with five patrons in the dining room. 

Robke’s was previously hit with violations on Dec. 9, 2020 for ignoring similar Covid-related executive orders, including improperly spaced tables, patrons standing, drinking and ignoring social distancing, and bartenders and kitchen staff without facemasks.  

For more coronavirus coverage, visit longislandpress.com/coronavirus.

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