The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) announced Friday that it had “summarily suspended” the license of a Richmond Hill restaurant and bar for violating Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order to halt on-premises sales of food and alcoholic beverages amid the coronavirus crisis.
On March 16, Cuomo announced an executive order restricting all bars and restaurants to deliveries and take out only.
According to the SLA, the NYPD on March 18 found that New Oriental Guyana Restaurant Inc. — located at 115-22 Liberty Ave. — was in full operation despite having been warned by officers to cease operation the previous night.
The SLA said that the bar attempted to avoid detection by closing the roll-down gate at the entrance to the premises and by slipping patrons in through a rear alley entrance, citing police reports.
As a result, the SLA charged the restaurant/bar with multiple violations for failing to comply with Cuomo’s executive order and for its failure to supervise the licensed premises.
The emergency suspension was ordered by SLA Chairman Vincent Bradley, Commissioner Lily Fan, and Commissioner Greeley Ford at a March 20 special meeting that was conducted remotely under social distancing guidelines.
During the suspension period, the SLA intends to seek the permanent cancellation or revocation of the license.
“As Governor Cuomo has emphatically stated, these directives are not helpful hints, they are not suggestions, they are mandatory and SLA will not hesitate to take immediate action to protect the public health and safety against the spread of the coronavirus,” said SLA Chairman Vincent Bradley. “I want to thank our partners with the NYPD as well as the overwhelming majority of restaurant and bar owners who have followed these undeniably difficult measures, placing the health of their employees and communities above profits in these trying times.”
A call to New Oriental Guyana Restaurant Inc. requesting comment went unanswered.
When the SLA summarily suspends a license, it also serves a Notice of Pleading alleging one or more disciplinary violations, the Authority noted. In invoking a summary suspension, the SLA has deemed the violation to be sufficiently serious upon initial review to warrant an immediate suspension.
The SLA’s decision to summarily suspend a license is not a final determination on the merits of the case. The licensee is entitled to an expedited administrative law hearing before an Administrative Law Judge.
An order of summary suspension remains in effect until such time as it is modified by the SLA or a reviewing Court.