The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) summarily suspended the license of New Oriental Guyana Restaurant Inc., at 115-22 Liberty Avenue in Richmond Hill today. The bar was found operating in flagrant violation of the Governor’s Executive Order to cease on-premises sales of food and alcoholic beverages to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
On March 18th, New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers discovered the bar in full operation with approximately forty patrons inside, ignoring not only the clear directives of the Governor, but also a warning from officers the night before to cease operations. Police report the bar attempted to avoid detection by closing the rolldown gate at the entrance to the premises and by slipping patrons in through a rear alley entrance.
Today, the SLA charged the New Oriental Guyana Restaurant with multiple violations, including for its failure to comply with Governor Cuomo’s Executive Orders concerning COVID-19 restaurant restrictions and for its failure to supervise the licensed premises.
“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.”
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 remotely under social distancing guidelines, on March 20, 2020. During the suspension period the SLA intends to seek the permanent cancellation or revocation of the license.
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.