A week after starting a petition calling for Governor Andrew Cuomo to reverse New York’s mandate requiring that a substantial amount of food must be served with any alcohol purchase, Abby Ehmann, the owner of East Village dive bar Lucky, found out her liquor license was suspended.
“Ehmann says that two State Liquor Authority representatives visited the bar on Monday night at 8 p.m. to observe if the bar’s eight customers had ordered food with their drinks,” according to Eater New York. “After the visit, Ehmann received her first warning from the SLA on a piece of paper that did not list out the specific violations, she says. Shortly afterward, and with no further warnings, Lucky’s liquor license was suspended.”
“No other safety measures were inspected or questioned,” Ehmann told Eater New York. “Also, no other bars or restaurants in close proximity to mine received this inspection, causing me to believe that I was intentionally targeted for selective enforcement by the Governor and State Liquor Authority.”
“I exercised my First Amendment right by petitioning my government for a redress of grievances,” Ehmann said. “I believe that this same government has selectively enforced the law I’m working to change as retaliation.”
This is now the second bar that is accusing Governor Cuomo of retaliating against it for opposing his mandate.
Last month, The Village Line in Kenmore, New York, mocked Governor Cuomo’s mandates with a satirical menu called “NYS Safe Menu” that spelled out an obscenity and Cuomo’s name in its list of food offerings to comply with the mandate. The menu went viral and the bar’s liquor license was suspended over social distancing violations the bar says never happened.
The managers at The Village Line say they were targeted because of their satirical menu. “Cuomo and his administration undoubtedly targeted The Village Line, with the goal of intimidating business owners and individuals with a clear, explicit threat: comply with the Governor’s orders and virtue-signaling, or risk losing your economic livelihood,” Chris Gardella, the bar’s owner, told PJ Media.
“Social distancing guidelines were followed at all times at The Village Line. Hand sanitizer was made available to guests, and proper signage with social distancing guidelines were posted on the door before entry was allowed,” Gardella explained. “Our customers are our family, and there’s nothing more important than protecting the health of our community.”
Ehmann’s bar, Lucky, is now shut down while the suspension is in effect. “It remains to be [seen] whether I will be issued a $10,000 fine or suffer the permanent seizure of my liquor license, which will result in the devastating forcible closure of my business,” she said.
Matt Margolis is the author of the new book Airborne: How The Liberal Media Weaponized The Coronavirus Against Donald Trump, and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis