State suspends liquor license of Island Park bar for COVID-19 violations
An Island Park bar has become the first on Long Island to lose its liquor license after it allegedly failed to comply with social distancing guidelines.
The state Liquor Authority has cited Dox Bar and Kitchen for multiple violations - including failing to comply with orders to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Investigators say in one incident, they found 235 patrons packed onto an outdoor patio deck. The space has a legal capacity of 42.
Officials say the restaurant had been warned several times over the last two months — both verbally and in writing — but they allegedly ignored those warnings.
Authorities say there were also complaints about noise, overcrowding and social distancing violations.
News 12 spoke with the owner who says she thought there was enough space on the patio for everyone to safely gather, and says she's working with the state to get her license back.
"We thought we were doing the right thing. We have a wide open space as you can see, but we understand that there are concerns and we're going to work through it," says owner Norah Kelleher.
The restaurant was also hit with 42 violations. The owners are now working with a specialist to try to get their liquor license reinstated. The specialist says Dox is being singled out to set an example for others.
"We think this action by the Liquor Authority is very heavy-handed," says specialist John Springer. "We think it was generated to create a headline and that's what they did."