Some 400 demonstrators, most of them without masks, assembled Wednesday outside a Staten Island bar to protest its closure due to coronavirus regulations.
Sheriff’s deputies previously arrested Danny Presti, co-owner of Mac’s Public House, after the bar was shut down Tuesday for operating past the 10 p.m. curfew and without a liquor license, The Washington Post reported.
The owners first announced they would flout regulations against dine-in service on Nov. 20 in defiance of cease-and-desist orders. They also declared the building an “autonomous zone,” writing on the bar’s Facebook page “we refuse to abide by any rules and regulations put forth by the Mayor of NYC and Governor of NY State.”
Presti said a week later that the bar’s liquor license had been suspended in a unanimous decision by the New York State Liquor Authority. He said the bar would instead serve free alcohol in exchange for “donations.” Serving alcohol for free without a license is also illegal.
New York City Sheriff Joseph Fucito told ABC News deputies issued tickets to employees for state and local violations and that they observed at least 14 people eating and drinking in the building.
“Keep sending your agencies, 'cause they’re not allowed in and we’re still gonna be here,” he said.
Presti addressed the crowd Wednesday, saying, “We take back Staten Island tonight. We take all the states back. This is how we take our country back.”
Louis Gelormino, who is representing the bar, said the establishment remained shut down even as the owners had been allowed back inside late the next day.
“Their intention is to reopen, but right now I don’t think they have the authority to do it,” he said.
Spokespeople for Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoHochul raises .6 million since launching gubernatorial campaign Former aide says she felt 'abandoned' by Democrats who advanced Garcetti nomination as ambassador to India De Blasio says he won't run for New York governor MORE (D) and Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioHochul raises .6 million since launching gubernatorial campaign De Blasio says he won't run for New York governor Watershed moment in NYC: New law allows noncitizens to vote MORE (D) have blasted the bar’s owners for their actions, saying they have put “neighbors’ lives at risk during a global pandemic to make a political statement.”