The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) summarily suspended the liquor license of Cheersmate2, Inc, doing business as “Dox” at 10 Broadway in Island Park on Long Island. The business was found repeatedly violating the Governor’s Executive Orders, requiring bars and restaurants to adhere to social distancing guidelines to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
On June 27th, investigators with the SLA and the Nassau County Fire Marshal’s Office conducted a compliance inspection, with investigators discovering approximately 235 patrons packed onto an outdoor patio deck with a legal capacity of just forty-two. The investigation followed repeated warnings from county officials, including verbal warnings from the Fire Marshall on May 17th, June 13th, and June 19th, in addition to written warnings on June 20th and June 26th following complaints of overcrowding, noise, and social distancing violations.
“This licensee received repeated warnings and chose to ignore them, causing an unnecessary and avoidable health risk to patrons, employees and the community,” said SLA Chairman Vincent Bradley. “Licensees who ignore these lifesaving protocols are not just jeopardizing their licenses, they’re jeopardizing people’s lives.”
On June 30, 2020, the SLA charged Dox with forty-two violations, including multiple counts of failure to comply with Governor Cuomo’s Executive Orders concerning COVID-19 restaurant restrictions, numerous code violations and failure to supervise the licensed premises.
The emergency suspension was ordered by Chairman Vincent Bradley, Commissioner Lily Fan, and Commissioner Greeley Ford at a special meeting of the Full Board, conducted by a digitally recorded video conference call under social distancing guidelines, on July 1, 2020.
The State Administrative Procedure Act authorizes a State agency to summarily suspend a license when the agency finds that public health, safety, or welfare requires emergency action. When the SLA summarily suspends a license, it also serves a Notice of Pleading alleging one or more disciplinary violations. 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.