State suspended liquor licenses of four bars/restaurants COVID-19 violations

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ALBANY – The state has suspended liquor licenses for four additional bars or restaurants in the Hudson Valley after finding egregious violations of pandemic-related executive orders.

El Nuevo Jomas Tavern at 112 Westchester Avenue in Port Chester had its license suspended on September 30. On September 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.

“La Botella Bar & Restaurant” at 136 Lake Street in Newburgh on October 4, 2020. On October 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 15 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, 2020.

On October 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 10 to 30 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.

“La Bohemia Restaurant” at 12 East 1st Street in Mount Vernon, on October 9, 2020. On October 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 25 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.