The Slatest

Hundreds Protest Closure of Staten Island Bar That Refused to Obey State Coronavirus Restrictions

Nobody puts Staten Island bargoers in a corner, even a pandemic. A day after Mac’s Public House in the conservative New York borough was shut down by police, hundreds of Trumpy protesters staged an outraged demonstration outside the shuttered bar Wednesday night. The 400 protesters, largely maskless, crammed into the street outside the bar, surrounding police cars, waving American flags, and chanting “open up!” “The people have rights!” one protester yelled, “open the door, I’m thirsty!” according to the New York Daily News.

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Mac’s Public House morphed into a right wing cause-celebre three weeks ago when it refused to comply with state and city coronavirus restrictions and its owners declared the business an “Autonomous Zone.” “We refuse to abide by any rules and regulations put forward by the Mayor of NYC and the Governor of NY State,” the bar said in a post on its Facebook page.

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In response, the New York state liquor authority revoked the bar’s liquor license, but Mac’s owners continued to operate. The area the bar is located is currently only allowed to serve food outdoors or for take-out because of the number of coronavirus cases. After losing their license, the bar’s owners tried to continue to operate on a technicality, and began soliciting $40 mandatory donations from patrons before entering, though that did not make its operation legal.

The standoff with state officials came to a head Tuesday when plainclothes deputies performed a sting operation, ordering food indoors in return for the donation, before officers returned an hour later and found 14 people in the bar eating and drinking alcohol. The deputies ordered the bar closed and cited the owners and employees for violating state and local coronavirus restrictions, as well as operating an unlicensed bottle club and unauthorized warehousing of alcohol.

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