New York State has charged five eateries in North Brooklyn with violating new COVID-19 restrictions since the start of the pandemic, according to a list released by the New York State Liquor Authority.
The five local businesses—12 Chairs Cafe (342 Wythe Ave.), Aurora (70 Grand St.), Ateres Avrohom (75 Ross St.), Carmine’s Pizzeria (358 Graham Ave.) and Cerveceria Havemeyer (149 Havemeyer St.) —join 438 other bars and restaurants across New York that the State Liquor Authority (SLA) has brought charges against.
A majority of these local businesses find the state’s cited violations petty, especially when there are other establishments in North Brooklyn more flagrantly violating the bevy of new regulations to which bars and restaurants have to adhere.
“It’s really frustrating,” said Felipe Mendez, owner of Cerveceria Havemeyer, in an interview with Greenpointers.
State investigators claimed to see customers eating takeout outside Mendez’s restaurant on June 19, before the city allowed eateries to have outdoor seating. Rather than fight the state’s allegations, Mendez agreed to pay the $1500 fine.
“We have the ax. We rule. We chop your head off,” he said. “That’s the attitude of Cuomo.”
Carmine Gangone, owner of Carmine’s Pizzeria, shares Mendez’s frustration. Investigators said four of his employees were not properly wearing masks on June 26, an allegation Gangone vigorously denies. The state fined him $2000, but he plans to challenge the charges in court.
“They’re tedious, pick-and-choose violations,” he said. “They’re crucifying the businesses.”
The list of SLA charges against state bars and restaurants comes on the heels of Governor Cuomo suspending the liquor licenses of more businesses in the metropolitan area due to COVID-19 violations, including a bar on Steinway Street, a stretch of Queens where crowds gathered in egregious numbers to party.
The governor has also assigned 40 state workers to act as undercover ‘spies’ in New York City to uncover violations of social-distancing rules.
While some bars and restaurants might be worried by the Governor’s newfound zeal for enforcing COVID-19 regulations, a representative from Aurora, one of the restaurants on the recently released list, believes the Williamsburg eatery already runs a tight ship.
“We follow every single rule there is,” said Markus Dorfmann, director of operations at Aurora Restaurant Group.