The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) summarily suspended the liquor license of the Loopies Pub LLC, doing business as “Loopie’s Pub” at 410 Mohawk Drive in Tribes Hill. The business was found operating in violation of the Governor’s Executive Order, requiring bars and restaurants to cease on-premises service of food and alcoholic beverages to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
On May 2nd, the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office conducted an undercover investigation of the premises, discovering the owner serving food and beverages to eight individuals inside the premises. The undercover informant was served food and an alcoholic beverage, allowed to remain for an hour, and overheard the owner tell customers that she could face fines for violating the law.
This operation followed numerous complaints and warnings from both the Sheriff’s Office and from SLA Investigators. The first was on March 19th, following complaints the bar was operating in violation of the Governor’s Executive Order; an SLA Senior Investigator called the owner to advise her the bar must limit operations to takeout and delivery only. A second warning was issued directly from the Sheriff of Montgomery County in late March after numerous complaints. On April 17th, in response to continuing complaints, the Sheriff’s Office visited Loopie’s Pub and again warned the owner that patrons were prohibited from gathering and consuming food and beverages inside the bar. The owner assured law enforcement each time that she would follow the EO and only serve takeout.
On May 11, 2020, following the undercover operation, the SLA charged Loopie’s Pub with several violations, including failure to comply with Governor Cuomo’s Executive Orders concerning COVID-19 restaurant restrictions and failure to supervise the licensed premises.
“Despite numerous warnings, this licensee continued to recklessly operate in flagrant defiance of the Governor’s directive, disregarding the health and safety of their patrons, police and the public,” said SLA Chairman Vincent Bradley. “As our state begins to focus on reopening, it is crucial businesses continue to comply with these lifesaving protocols.”
The emergency suspension was ordered by Chairman Vincent Bradley, Commissioner Lily Fan, and Commissioner Greeley Ford at a meeting of the Full Board, conducted by a digitally recorded video conference call under social distancing guidelines, on May 13, 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.
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