A Mahopac bar had its liquor license suspended after state authorities discovered it violated COVID-19-related executive orders.
Governor Andrew Cuomo announced last Friday that 238 businesses’ liquor licenses have been suspended, including The Mahopac Inn in Mahopac. As of Oct. 23, 1,362 charges against bars and restaurants violating health mandates throughout the state have been filed and processed.
Businesses found in violation 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, Cuomo said. A third violation could result in immediate closure of the establishment.
Currently, all restaurants and bars statewide must only serve alcohol to people who are ordering and eating food, and that all service at bar tops must only be for seated patrons who are socially distanced by six feet or separated by physical barriers. Under current law, only establishments that serve food are permitted to serve alcoholic beverages.
Furthermore, establishments must limit indoor capacity to no more than 50% of its maximum occupancy, exclusive of employees.
“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,” Cuomo said. “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.”
On Oct. 2, following complaints and previous warnings about social distancing violations, State Liquor Authority investigators were seated at the bar of The Mahopac Inn, with patrons two feet away on each side, and served by a bartender with a facial covering below his nose, according to the state. Investigators noted about 30 patrons, with four standing and drinking while listening to a band.
Within the hour, the bar was packed, including 10 to 30 who were standing at any one-time consuming alcohol and walking freely throughout the restaurant without facial coverings, according to the state. A second bartender was seen without a face mask, and staff made no attempt to enforce social distancing, the report states.
In July, the business, located at 927 South Lake Boulevard, was warned by investigators regarding social distancing protocols and the requirement that all employees wear masks or coverings.
“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,” Cuomo stressed.
State Liquor Authority Chairman Vincent Bradley said the increase in compliance is encouraging but not surprising, citing the majority of bar and restaurant owners who are hardworking, conscientious operators that prioritize the health of their employees, patrons, and community.
“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,” Bradley said.