Following through on his earlier threats to suspended liquor licenses from bars and restaurants that repeatedly violate COVID-19 guidelines, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Liquor Authority yanked licenses from 12 New York City bars on Tuesday, July 28.
All 12 bars and restaurants that had their liquor licenses suspended were in Queens, including seven establishments in Jackson Heights, two in Corona, two in Astoria and one in Ozone Park.
“New Yorkers have worked hard to flatten the curve, but the bars and restaurants that ignore public health guidance are disrespecting their sacrifices which have saved lives while allowing us to sustain the reopening of our economy,” Cuomo said. “Local governments must enforce the law, but the task force has stepped up its efforts and with these additional suspensions we are sending a clear message that the State will not hesitate to take action against businesses that put New Yorkers’ health and safety at risk.”
Over the weekend, the SLA and the State Police conducted more than 1,300 compliance checks at bars and restaurants across the city. In total, the joint task force found violations at over 130 establishments, according to Cuomo.
While punishment for a violation begins with fines — some as much as $10,000 per violation — more egregious violations can result in the immediate suspension of a bar or restaurant’s liquor license.
That was the case for Lima (85-07 Northern Blvd., Jackson Heights), CJ’s Bar and Lounge (139-09 Cross Bay Blvd., Ozone Park), RubiRosa (84-07 Northern Blvd., Jackson Heights), Mr Pancho’s Café (86-09 Roosevelt Ave., Jackson Heights), Blue Angel Lounge (112-51 Roosevelt Ave., Corona), De La Mora Restaurant (84-19 Northern Blvd., Jackson Heights), El Patio Bar (218-21 Jamaica Blvd., Jackson Heights), The Grand (37-01 30th Ave., Astoria), El Paisa Café (87-05 Northern Blvd., Jackson Heights), Romanticos (76-07 Roosevelt Ave., Jackson Heights), Delicia’s Mexicanas (102-14 Roosevelt Ave., Corona) and The Pomeroy (36-12 Ditmars Blvd., Astoria).
All 12 Queens bars and restaurants had their liquor licenses suspended during SLA Board meetings on July 25, 26 and 27.
The bars and restaurants were found to break a number of regulations imposed during the reopening phases of New York City in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Patrons at the suspended restaurants and bars were found to be maskless, huddled in large groups breaking social distancing guidelines, breaking the city’s 11 p.m. curfew, drinking alcohol without ordering food and drinking alcohol inside without masks.
Several of the bars and restaurants, including Blue Angel Lounge, De La Mora Restaurant, Romanticos and Delicia’s Mexicanas, had previously been found to be in violation of several of the governor’s executive orders.
“The SLA will continue to immediately suspend licensees who jeopardize lives by flagrantly violating the governor’s executive orders,” said Vincent Bradley, the SLA chair. “Our communities, as well as the majority of restaurant and bar owners and staff, have endured great sacrifices to bend the curve, and the SLA will not hesitate to take immediate action against those who threaten the progress our state has made.”
Twenty-nine restaurants and bars in New York City have had their liquor licenses suspended for violating COVID-19 guidelines dating back to March 20, 2020. Twenty-two of those restaurants and bars have been in Queens.
The governor’s office did not respond to request for comment on the number of SLA inspections at Queens eateries when compared to inspections at restaurants and bars in the other four boroughs before press time.