Two bars in Erie County are among a group of 36 restaurants and bars that had their liquor licenses suspended for what Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's office described on Tuesday as "egregious" violations of pandemic-related executive orders.
In addition on Tuesday, the governor's office announced that seven establishments' liquor licenses were suspended for operating illegally in state-designated micro-cluster zones, which are subject to stronger restrictions due to increased COVID-19 spread in the community.
Cuomo's office announced liquor license suspensions for:
— Clinton Bar & Grill, 2460 Clinton St., West Seneca. On Nov. 18, state liquor authority investigators conducted surveillance of the premises, observing multiple cars park at and patrons enter, despite the fact the establishment's lights were off in an apparent attempt to appear closed. When investigators entered, they found 20 patrons crowded around the bar drinking, standing and mingling after the mandatory 10 p.m. statewide closing time.
— The Cowboy, 45 West Chippewa St., Buffalo. This bar's liquor license was suspended on Nov. 13, following a Nov. 8 inspection by the Erie County Department of Health and the Erie County Sheriff’s Office. During the inspection, the governor's office said, investigators found a crowded premises, with roughly 30 patrons in a "nightclub-like atmosphere" standing, drinking and mingling without facial coverings and a DJ was present. The health department reported previously visiting the premises on Aug. 21 and issuing a warning regarding employees without facial coverings.
The latest round of liquor license suspensions brings the total during the coronavirus pandemic to 279. The state has so far filed 1,867 charges against bars and restaurants for violating rules meant to stop the spread of COVID-19. Businesses found in violation of COVID-19 regulations face fines up to $10,000 per violation, while egregious violations can result in the immediate suspension of a bar or restaurant's liquor license.