NEW YORK – A Staten Island pub refused to close while in a coronavirus hotspot.
Last month, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo imposed new restrictions on businesses in areas with peak COVID-19 cases. The measurements were part of an amber zone declaration.
But the owners of Mac’s Public House on Lincoln Ave. in the Grant City neighborhood refused to close.
“At one point we said we had to do something because we were just going to close again,” says co-owner Danny Presti.
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They’ve been hit with thousands of dollars in fines, an order from the state health department to shut down and the bar’s liquor license revoked, but they defiantly remain open.
They declared it an “autonomous zone” free from public security restrictions. A sign on the door reads, “We refuse to abide by the rules and regulations put forward by the Mayor of New York and the Governor of New York State. ”
The bar stays open but doesn’t charge for drinks, but they do accept donations, which they say could be a regulatory escape.
But the State Liquor Authority says a license is needed to serve alcohol, whether or not they charge for it.
In a statement to FOX5NY, SLA said, “Investigators found the locals in flagrant violation of COVID regulations” and the operation “is clearly illegal.”
The bar set up a GoFundMe with the aim of raising $ 500,000 to stay alive. As of Tuesday morning, he had received about $ 16,000 in donations.
“The support we have received from everyone is amazing,” says Presti. “It’s humiliating right now.
Mac’s Public House co-owner Danny Presti is seen outside the bar. (FOX5NY)
The bar says it follows safety protocols, including social distancing. They say customers are tested for temperature when they walk in and must wear a mask when not seated.
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Presti says all he’s seen is the mayor and governor pointing fingers at the federal government for not being able to pay his personal and business bills.
“It was really tough,” says Presti. “Since March, they have closed us, we have adapted. We did everything they asked us to do and they keep sending every agency to hurt us, really, instead of helping us. ”