Lawyer for NYC Bar Owner Arrested for Defying COVID Restrictions Criticizes Sheriffs’ Conduct

Governor Andrew Cuomo adjusts his mask during an event in New York City, October 12, 2020. (Carlo Allegri / Reuters)

The lawyer for a New York bar owner arrested for opening his business in defiance of coronavirus restrictions criticized the sheriff’s department for his conduct during the incident.

Danny Presti, owner of Mac’s Public House in Staten Island, has chosen to keep his bar open after Governor Andrew Cuomo declared part of the island an “orange zone” due to the growing number of coronavirus cases. New York’s restrictions on an orange zone ban dining inside, said Keith McAlarney, Presti’s business partner Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Monday that they had to open to stay afloat financially.

“They spent $ 150,000 to [first] open the place, and they opened two months before COVID. Two young men with five children between them, ”said Presti’s lawyer Lou Gelormino National review Wednesday. The couple spent an additional $ 25,000 to reopen over the summer based on new social distancing requirements.

While Presti’s bar sits on the edge of the orange zone, it sits almost on the border itself. This was another reason Presti and McAlarney chose to stay open.

Cuomo “decided, in all his wisdom, to make half of Staten Island an orange zone, which means that a block and a half from Mac’s Public House you can sit and eat, and in Mac’s Public House, you can’t, ”Gelormino told me.

The New York Department of Health ordered the bar to close on November 24, two days before Thanksgiving. After Presti and McAlarney refused, the State Liquor Authority suspended their liquor license on November 27.

Next, the New York sheriffs conducted an undercover operation at the facility.

“The company has received numerous complaints about indoor meals in an orange zone and activities after the 10 pm curfew imposed by the governor’s decree, ”the sheriff’s department said in a statement to National review. After plainclothes officers observed violations of coronavirus restrictions on Tuesday night, “MPs issued court tickets for multiple violations of city and state laws to facility employees.”

Presti and Gelormino, who were at the scene at the time, were issued tickets for breaching order and for failing to protect public health and safety, among other charges. After his arrest, Presti received court tickets for disorderly conduct and trespassing, even though he was arrested at his own establishment, according to Gelormino.

“The sheriffs gave me four criminal summons for doing absolutely nothing, just [Presti’s] lawyer, ”Gelormino said. “They completely lied to them. We were nothing but polite, respectful and courteous.

“At no point was there any sign of disorderly conduct, even when Danny was arrested,” Gelormino said, adding that sheriffs arrested Presti after he refused to leave the scene.

As of Wednesday, the average seven-day coronavirus positivity rate was 8.6% in the zip code where Mac’s public house is located. Presti and McAlarney are currently discussing their plans to move forward.

Lawyer for NYC Bar Owner Arrested for Defying COVID Restrictions Criticizes Sheriffs’ Conduct

Zachary Evans is a news writer for National review online. He is a veteran of the Israel Defense Forces and a violist by training.