By John Dias

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Staten Island bar cited for numerous social distancing violations remained closed Wednesday.

Mac’s Public House planned to hold a grand reopening, but the event was called off.

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Earlier this winter, the surrounding zip code was designated a COVID-19 orange zone, forcing restaurants and bars to suspend indoor dining. Soon after, indoor dining was shut down citywide.

But the bar owners continued to defy the orders, calling the bar an “autonomous zone” and allowing people to eat and drink inside. Large crowds rallied outside to support them.

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A lawyer for the owners claimed all charges had been dropped and it would reopen Wednesday. However, the State Liquor Authority told CBS2 the bar’s liquor license is still suspended.

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“Mac’s Public House is a threat to New Yorkers’ health, and as such their liquor license remains suspended. To be extremely clear: Mac’s Public H​ouse has not sued to overturn the State Liquor Authority’s actions, no judge in a case related to Mac’s has ruled against the state’s ​​public health guidance or the SLA’s enforcement actions, the SLA charges have not been dismissed, and this establishment​ cannot legally serve alcohol,” the SLA said in a statement.


One of the bar owners, Danny Presti, is also accused of hitting a sheriff’s officer with his car, dragging him 100 yards and breaking both of his legs.

“To be clear: The criminal charges brought by my office against defendant Daniel Presti, owner of Mac’s Public House, have NOT been dismissed and that matter is pending,” Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon tweeted Wednesday. “We fully intend to present this case to a grand jury in the near future contingent on COVID.”

Mac’s Pub is in a zip code with a 10.6% positivity rate, compared to the rest of the city at 6.2%.

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John Dias