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Six More Borough Bars Lose Their Liquor Licenses to Ongoing State Suspensions Amid COVID-19

(Photo by Nathz Guardia on Unsplash)

July 30, 2020 By Allie Griffin

Six more bars and restaurants in Queens have lost their liquor licenses to ongoing state suspensions amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Over the last few weeks, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Liquor Authority (SLA) have cracked down on bars and restaurants that blatantly disregard the state’s social distancing rules and face covering requirements meant to stop the spread of COVID-19.

The crackdown — not unlike the pandemic itself — has struck the World’s Borough the hardest. The six new bars that had their liquor licenses suspended bring the total number of Queens suspensions up to 28 — nearly half of all liquor suspensions for coronavirus violations.

Just two days ago, the SLA slapped a dozen businesses — all in Queens — with suspensions.

Undercover SLA investigators and state police have been checking out local bars for noncompliance. They conducted 1,131 compliance check so far this week and found violations at 55 establishments.

Investigators typically issue multiple violations before suspending a business’s liquor license. Businesses found in violation face fines up to $10,000 per violation.

Cuomo recently enacted a “three-strikes” rule in which the SLA will suspend the liquor license of any bar or restaurant that violates COVID-19 regulations three times. Particularly egregious violations, however, can result in the immediate suspension of a bar or restaurant’s liquor license.

“Noncompliance will lead us right back right where we were just a few months ago — so we must continue to crack down on the bad actors who violate the law and risk everyone’s health and safety,” Cuomo said.

The SLA ordered immediate suspensions of the following Queens establishments’ liquor licenses on Tuesday and Thursday.

Ladies Sports Bar, at 170-12 Jamaica Avenue in Jamaica, on July 29

El Otro Rollo, at 79-05 Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights, on July 28

Atlantis, at 93-10 Woodhaven Boulevard in Jamaica, on July 28

El Abuelo Gozon, at 79-03 Roosevelt Avenue in Jackson Heights, on July 28

El Palo Bar, at 38-12 104th Street in Corona, on July 28

Rancho, at 105-13 Jamaica Avenue in Richmond Hill, on July 28

The six businesses were found violating a number of COVID-19 orders, such as serving alcohol without food, serving patrons past the 11 p.m. curfew for outdoor dining, failure to wear facial coverings and ignoring social distancing guidelines.

In some cases, as many as 20 patrons were drinking inside the bar — despite the fact that indoor dining has been closed indefinitely in New York City — and employees weren’t wearing any face masks.

“The health and safety of New Yorkers should be everyone’s priority, and we will continue to weed out those who are not taking this pandemic seriously,” State Liquor Authority Chair Vincent Bradley said.

Establishments that receive suspensions must stop serving alcohol immediately. The suspensions remain in effect indefinitely — though businesses served with one are entitled to an expedited hearing before a SLA Administrative Law judge.

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