The New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) summarily suspended the liquor license of Wahter Inc, doing business as “Bourbon Street of Monroe” at 78 Mill Pond Parkway in Monroe. The business was operating in violation of the Governor’s Executive Order, which requires bars and restaurants to cease on-premises service of food and alcoholic beverages to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
On April 29th, in response to complaints about customers gathering inside, MPD officers reported discovering eight patrons sitting at the bar consuming alcoholic beverages. Officers issued a warning to the owner’s spouse, who was operating the location at the time, and she agreed that the premises would comply with the order moving forward. Two hours later, an MPD officer driving by the premises observed a patron sitting at the bar through the window.
Just four days later, on May 3rd police were again dispatched to the premises in response to a complaint. MPD officers entered the premises observing four patrons sitting at the bar with alcoholic beverages. The owner was present, but had allowed service on the premises just days after the warning.
On May 11, 2020, the SLA charged Bourbon Street of Monroe with multiple violations of failure to comply with Governor Cuomo’s Executive Orders concerning COVID-19 restaurant restrictions and failure to supervise the licensed premises.
“While this is a challenging time for businesses, the State Liquor Authority and Governor Cuomo have put in place unprecedented emergency guidelines to help our licensees continue doing business,” said SLA Chairman Vincent Bradley. “Ignoring these regulations, that were put into place for the health and safety of New Yorkers, is irresponsible and puts everyone at risk.”
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.