4 Popular Hudson Valley Bars Lose Liquor License
Four more popular Hudson Valley bars had its liquor licenses suspended for allegedly breaking COVID-19 rules.
On Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the state has suspended liquor licenses for 21 additional bars and restaurants in New York State after finding alleged egregious violations of pandemic-related Executive Orders.
"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,"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."
These new suspensions bring the total number of liquor licenses suspended during the coronavirus pandemic to 238. In total, 1,362 charges have been filed against bars and restaurants for violating coronavirus-related rules, according to Cuomo's office. Businesses found in violation of these regulations face fines up to $10,000 per violation, while egregious violations can result in the immediate suspension of a bar or restaurant's liquor license.
"The increase in compliance we've seen is encouraging but not surprising, given the fact the overwhelming majority of bar and restaurant owners are hardworking, conscientious operators that put the health of their employees, patrons and communities first. However, as the risks associated with noncompliance by just a few bad actors remains high, the task force will continue our work to ensure a handful of reckless business owners do not halt or reverse our state's progress," State Liquor Authority Chair Vincent Bradley said.
Four of the 21 are in the Mid-Hudson Region. The four bars and restaurants suspended are listed below, along with information on their violations and the date of their suspensions, according to the New York State Liquor Authority.
"La Botella Bar & Restaurant" at 136 Lake Street in Newburgh on October 4
- On Oct. 2, following complaints of crowding and social distancing violations, SLA investigators made an undisclosed visit to the premises, finding a live DJ performing and approximately 100 patrons inside -- including approximately fifteen patrons dancing and another dozen playing pool, all in violation of the Governor's Executive Orders. Patrons were standing two rows deep at the bar, where an investigator was eventually able to order a drink without food from a bartender without a facial covering. Investigators noted that none of the six employees present were wearing facial coverings or even attempting to enforce social distancing, with patrons freely milling about the premises.
"The Mahopac Inn" at 927 South Lake Boulevard in Mahopac, on October 4
- On Oct. 2, following complaints and previous warnings about social distancing violations, SLA investigators were seated at the bar, with patrons two feet away on each side, and served by a bartender with a facial covering pulled below his nose. Investigators noted approximately thirty patrons were present, with four standing and drinking while listening to a band. Less than an hour later, the bar was packed with patrons, including ten to thirty who were standing at any one time, consuming alcohol and walking freely throughout the premises without facial coverings. Investigators observed a second bartender without a facial covering, and at no time witnessed staff even attempt to enforce social distancing. This business was warned by SLA investigators in early July regarding social distancing protocols and the requirement that all employees wear facial coverings.
Hudson Valley Post reached out to both bars but haven't heard back, as of this writing.
"La Bohemia Restaurant" at 12 East 1st Street in Mount Vernon, on October 9
- On Oct. 1, officers with the Mount Vernon Police Department conducted an inspection finding more than 100 patrons inside, over ninety of whom were crammed into a second-floor space that has a normal maximum occupancy of forty-nine, or just under twenty-five under COVID-related regulations. Officers report a nightclub-like atmosphere at the premises, which is licensed as a restaurant, with patrons not wearing facial coverings, standing shoulder-to-shoulder, and flagrantly ignoring social distancing. In addition, there was no evidence of food being served, the premises was using an unauthorized DJ, and numerous patrons were smoking hookah in apparent violation of the NYS Indoor Smoking Act.
"El Nuevo Jomas Tavern" at 112 Westchester Avenue in Port Chester, on September 30
- On Sept. 26, officers with the Port Chester Police Department responding to reports of underage drinking found the premises hosting a large party with approximately two-hundred guests, despite a maximum legal occupancy of only 90 -- which should be reduced to just 45 under COVID-related regulations. Police noted few patrons were wearing facial coverings, reported confiscating eighteen hookahs, and found the fire alarm system appeared to have been disarmed.