Bar owner not complying with COVID-19 restrictions arrested

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A co-owner of Mac’s Public House on Staten Island, a bar that publicly violated health restrictions amid the coronavirus pandemic, was taken from his bar in handcuffs and arrested on Tuesday.
A video posted on the bar’s Instagram account shows Danny Presti being driven out of his business. The message says he was arrested.

Mark Fonte, an attorney for the bar’s owners, told NY1 that 10 to 15 officers from the city’s sheriff’s office showed up on Tuesday evening, at a meeting between Presti and Fonte’s legal partner. The bar was closed at the time, according to Fonte.

Fonte says the sheriff’s office issued several summons to Presti, then told everyone to leave. According to Fonte, Presti then argued that he didn’t have to leave as the bar was currently not open and therefore was not currently breaking any rules. He was then taken out of the bar in handcuffs and arrested, according to Fonte.

According to Fonte, Presti is currently in the Sheriff’s Office at St. Mark’s Place on Staten Island. Fonte says he’s believed to be charged with trespassing, and it’s unclear if and when he’ll be released.

NY1 has contacted the city sheriff’s office for comment and is awaiting a response.

Another Mac’s Public House co-owner, Keith McAlarney, told NY1 on Sunday that he had declared what he called a “self-contained zone” outside the bar.

The bar was heavily fined and stripped of its liquor license, and the state’s health department had issued a cease-and-desist order. Despite all this, the bar remained open.

The bar is located in Staten Island’s “Orange Zone”, which prohibits indoor dining. But on Sunday, customers were inside to eat and drink.

They were trying not to get a liquor license by serving customers for free, with a suggested donation. However, the state liquor authority had said that offering free alcohol was not a “loophole” and that a liquor license was required to sell or serve alcohol.

Alyssa Paolicelli’s reports were included in this story.

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