MAHOPAC, N.Y. - After two weeks, the Mahopac Inn is back open after its liquor license was suspended for not following state COVID-19 protocols.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced earlier this month that the state had suspended the liquor licenses of 21 additional bars and restaurants due to “egregious violations of pandemic-related executive orders” and Mahopac Inn was on the list.
The Inn’s co-owner and operator, Marc Anthony, told Mahopac News that the restaurant/bar had fallen out of compliance and that he’s worked hard with the State Liquor Authority (SLA) to be able to reopen.
“We are doing the best we can and I’m grateful for the assistance [from the state] to fix this,” he said.
Anthony said that guests are required to wear masks unless they are seated at a table and eating and drinking. The tables are now marked with yellow tape, so they remain socially distanced as required.
“We were out of compliance and made the corrections,” Anthony said. “I think they might be making it worse than it sounds.”
Anthony said that during the shutdown, the Inn went through a thorough disinfection process and that it is being maintained. He said no cases of the coronavirus have been traced to his establishment.
These new suspensions bring the total number of liquor licenses suspended statewide during the coronavirus pandemic to 238. In total, 1,362 charges have been filed against bars and restaurants for violating coronavirus-related rules. Businesses that do not meet these 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.
Cuomo has made clear he’s serious. “Rules are only as good as enforcement, and as we have ramped up checks on bars and restaurants, compliance has increased, creating a safer environment for everyone,” the governor said. “A small number of business owners still don’t think the rules apply to them, even in focus zones where the state has tracked increased spread, and these suspensions should serve as a reminder that we will take action against those who callously put New Yorkers in harm’s way.”
Liquor authority investigators went to Mahopac Inn on Oct. 2 following complaints of social-distancing violations. Their report indicated that they were seated at the bar with patrons 2 feet away on each side and served by a bartender with a facial covering pulled below his nose. Investigators noted approximately 30 patrons were present, with four standing and drinking while listening to a band. Less than an hour later, the report states, the bar was packed with patrons, including 10 to 30 who were standing at any one time, consuming alcohol, and walking freely throughout the premises without facial coverings. Investigators observed a second bartender without a facial covering, and at no time witnessed staff even attempt to enforce social distancing.
SLA investigators warned the Inn in early July regarding social-distancing protocols and the requirement that all employees wear facial coverings.
Anthony said everything is in compliance now and he doesn’t expect to have any further issues with the SLA.