An owner of Mac’s Public House in Grant City, New York, was handcuffed and arrested for violating state and city lockdowns that prohibit restaurants from serving diners inside, even as winter approaches and restaurants are already struggling to survive.
Five officers from the Sherrif’s [sic] office stood outside Mac’s Public House as Danny Presti was taken away in handcuffs by sheriffs at 7:15 p.m. He and Keith McAlarney own the Grant City tavern.
[Republican] State Sen. Andrew Lanza was also on the scene. He delivered a speech to the crowd, which included dozens of restaurant owners from across the Island who came to show McAlarney and Presti their support.
“This order simply says that they need to cease and desist,’’ Lanza told officers at the scene after thumbing through a multi-page order. “Nowhere here is there an arrest warrant, nowhere here is anything about arresting anyone on their private property. So I’ll ask, [and] you don’t have to answer … why was he arrested? I was told you would tell me why he was arrested and now I’m asking for that answer.”
After some in the crowd started shouting at officers, Lanza responded with a call for calm.
“I understand that we feel very strongly about this,’’ Lanza said. “I feel as strongly as you, I assure you. But by speaking loudly it gives people an excuse not to answer us. So, let’s not give them the excuse. If they don’t want to answer, they don’t have to answer. We respect law enforcement on Staten Island like no other borough.”
The restaurant falls into the bureaucrat-created colored zones for virus risk of orange, “where indoor dining is illegal.”
The restaurant was actually giving away food and beverages to customers, but that still violates Democrat Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s strict dining rules.
“We urge our friends in the restaurant industry to be as resilient as possible while we appeal this decision,” attorney Mark Fonte, who was reportedly not present at the scene, but later told the Advance.
Fonte and Lou Gelormino represent the tavern in its legal battle against the state and city orders. Gelormino was inside the building and served a $5,000 summons after he was deemed an employee.
“Last week, New York state issued a Section 16 Order from Health Commissioner Dr. Howard A. Zucker directing Mac’s to follow the Executive Orders. Failure to abide by the law can result in fines up to $10,000 per day, the Advance reported. “Additionally, the SLA suspended its liquor license on Nov. 27 by unanimous vote, as it found continued operation threatened public health and safety.”
Follow Penny Starr on Twitter