New York ‘Autonomous Zone’ Bar Stopped, Co-Owner Arrested for Violating COVID Restrictions


The sheriff’s deputies closed the New York bar on Tuesday night and arrested one of his defiant owners, authorities said.

A team of New York sheriff’s deputies shut down Mac Staten Island City Hall after a secret pinch. Representatives in civilian clothes were offered drinks and food at the facility, and several patrons were observed in the same way in gross violations of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s government decrees that dampened the second wave of the deadly virus, Sheriff Joseph Fucito said.

Owners Keith McAlarney and Danny Presti put their noses in their thumbs due to emergency COVID-19 restrictions and declared their pub an “autonomous zone.”

McAlarney and Presti, who opened the bar a year after extensive renovations, said they had no intention of complying with the rules. In a YouTube video, state health officials were cheekily ridiculed, saying they would keep their doors open even after authorities suspended their spirits, issued a cessation law, and started fining them $ 1,000 a day.

In a YouTube video released Friday, Presti said that although he and McAlarney could no longer legally charge for alcoholic beverages because of a suspended liquor license, they decided to serve drinks and food in-house, but asked patrons to donate to pay their bills. .

Mac Public House is located in an area that the Cuomo considers a virus-risk “orange zone” after Staten Island’s positivity rate rose to 4.15% last week. Restrictions in the “orange zone” prohibit indoor meals and outdoor meals are limited to the tables of up to four customers.

Fucito said MPs withdrew to the pub on Tuesday afternoon and “observed several patrons entering and staying in the room.”

The sheriff said members in civilian clothes entered the pub through the open front door, sat down at a table, and ordered food and alcohol in exchange for the mandatory $ 40 donation he described.

By 18:40 on Tuesday, secret agents had counted 14 people at the scene, the majority eating and consuming alcoholic beverages.

Armed with the evidence, MPs ordered staff to close the pub immediately and, according to Fucito, began issuing tickets to employees due to multiple violations of city and state laws.

The Presti was arrested for allegedly obstructing the government administration, Fucito said. The co-owner was taken to the sheriff’s office, issued tickets and released, he said.

The pub’s bartender, chef, and even lawyer, Louis Gelormino, were also charged with violating the Cuomo’s enforcement order and emergency measures, failing to keep order, and failing to protect health and safety.

“I was literally there for 20 seconds and 15 sheriff officers entered, two of them quite aggressively,” Gelormino told ABC News on Wednesday. “When I started filming, one of the sheriff’s officers became very aggressive, it got right in my face and that’s when he asked for my ID.”

He said he was kept in the pub for more than an hour before he was handed the four criminal subpoenas.

“And they lied to them completely. One of them said, ‘Out of order.’ I don’t even know what that means,” Gelormino said. “But it’s scary to give me subpoenas and lie on them, what they’re doing to everyone else on this.” in the world?

The sheriff’s office had no immediate comment on Gelormino’s allegations.

Neither Presti nor McAlarney could be reached immediately to comment. Gelormino said the owners were released back to the pub on Wednesday, but sheriff’s officers kept the media out.

“They intend to reopen, but at the moment I don’t think they have the authority to do so.” The sheriff gave a stop order to the place, “Gelormino said.

When word of retaliation spread throughout the community, about 50 people appeared outside in protest, Fucito said.

“The protesters were verbal but peaceful,” Fucito said. “No injuries have occurred and no further arrests are required.”

One of the protesters, Leticia Remauro, slammed the sheriff’s office into arresting Presti and closing his shop.

“This man was arrested for trying to make a living and pay taxes. It’s crazy,” Remauro, staten Island Borough presidential candidate for ABC’s WABC-TV station in New York, said.

Gelermino is scheduled to hold a meeting next to the bar on Wednesday night.

In addition to violating Cuomo’s enforcement order, owners and staff have a number of other fees, including operating an unlicensed bottle club and storing alcohol without a license.

On Friday, the council of the State Alcohol Authority (SLA) unanimously approved an emergency order suspending the bar’s liquor manufacturing license after officials said an SLA investigator sent to inspect the bar was denied entry. Despite being kept away, an SLA detective documented the patrons at the bar.

“To protect the health and safety of people in New York during a public health emergency, the SLA suspended Mac Public House’s beverage license and the Department of Health issued a Section 16 order after investigators found the premises were clearly in violation of COVID in Staten. related regulations. Island Orange Zone, ”the SLA reported to ABC News on Monday.

The statement added: “The purpose of these rules is to protect the people of New York at a time of dangerous growth in COVID cases, and to ignore them just a week after we had to open a Staten Island surge hospital, not just in New York. complete disregard for human health is clearly illegal. “

SLA officials also said that offering food and alcohol for free is not a legitimate loophole to avoid restrictions, and noted that the Cuomo’s implementing provision also prohibits indoor dining, not just sales.

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