NEW YORK CITY — On a Saturday night at Bar Tabac on Smith and Dean Streets, it’s usually packed with customers on the sidewalk in pandemic times waiting for outdoor tables but not tonight after Governor Cuomo suspended this popular French restaurant’s liquor license until further notice for flouting COVID-19 rules.
Investigators from the New York Liquor Authority Enforcemdnt Task Force say they found seven employees without face coverings including the manager, bartender, host and four kitchen staff members.
Loyal Tabac customers were upset.
“The governor doesn’t have to pay rent. He doesn’t have to make ends meet,” a customer who only gave his first name as Johnny told PIX11 News.
Two other popular smith street spots, Regular Visitors and Union Grounds, were closed Saturday night because of suspended liquor licenses.
“They were serving liquor after they were no longer serving food and they got caught,” Louis Rios, a Boerum Hill resident, told PIX11 News.
Next door, the owner of Cubana Café said he knows he’s got to play by the rules.
“We have to close by 11 and wear the mask not just for business, but for everyone,” Jose Torres said.
These latest liquor license suspensions come after viral videos showed rowdy crowds not social distancing in Astoria.
The New York liquor authority enforcement task force issued on Friday another 41 violations to bars and restaurants for not following coronavirus restrictions, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday.
Seven additional establishments — three in Manhattan, three in Queens and one in Staten Island — had their liquor licenses suspended on Friday, according to Cuomo.
Of the 41 violations, 27 were in Manhattan, five were in Queens, two were in the Bronx, one each in Brooklyn and Staten Island, three were in Nassau and two were in Suffolk.
“We need the NYPD to step up and do enforcement,” the governor said.
The state has been cracking down on bars and restaurants not following guidelines under Cuomo’s phased reopening plan amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Crowding outside of New York City bars and restaurants has been an issue since the weather began to get warmer and the number of new coronavirus cases started to drop in May.
Cuomo has warned that bars and restaurants who flout dining guidelines, sale of alcohol rules and social distancing restrictions will be held accountable.
He has also repeatedly called on the city and NYPD to step up enforcement.
“I think it’s really a challenge for restaurants and bar owners,” Laura Goldberg, a Brooklyn Heights resident, told PIX11 News. “But they must do everything they can to keep residents and those visiting the city safe,” she added.