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Gov. Cuomo: State Task Force Cites More Than 100 New York City And Long Island Bars, Restaurants For Social Distancing Violations

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) - More than 100 bars and restaurants in the New York City area were flagged for coronavirus social distancing violations this weekend, and some now face the possibility of having their liquor licenses suspended, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday.

The violations, for issues such as people crowding outside and workers not wearing masks, were handed out by a new state police and liquor authority enforcement task force inspecting establishments in the city and on Long Island, Cuomo said.

The state's liquor authority board will meet Monday to review the 105 violations and decide on the possible suspension of some licenses.

MORE: New York Suspends Liquor Licenses At 4 Area Establishments Due In Part To Failure To Enforce Social Distancing Rules

Last week, the board yanked 10 licenses for social distancing violations.

The state's crackdown on bars and restaurants started earlier this month, after video showed a crowd of people not social distancing outside a bar in Astoria, Queens.

New York City sheriff's officers eventually showed up to enforce the rules.

Neighbors at the time told CBS2's Cory James the activity lasted until 4 a.m.

Since then, the governor has made it a priority to tackle what he says is people violating the law during a pandemic.

"The take-out alcohol was you take out the alcohol and you go home and you drink it. It was not you take out the alcohol and then you stand in front of the bar and drink it. That violates the open container law. It also violates the bar's rules in terms of selling to-go alcohol," Cuomo said.

Astoria residents who spoke to CBS2 were mostly supportive of the crackdown.

"I feel that was a good choice on his behalf," one Astoria resident said.

"I'm not happy that that happened to them, but somebody's got to do it," another said.

Both Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio have been outspoken in promises to step up enforcement.

RELATED STORY: Gov. Andrew Cuomo Introduces 'Three Strikes, You're Closed' Policy For Bars, Restaurants That Violate COVID-19 Restrictions

One of the bars that was cited last week for violating the executive order had its outdoor dining privileges suspended for about a week along with its liquor license.

But Sunday, CBS2 saw them setting their street seating area back up, apparently preparing to resume business. They were allowed to continue take-out orders during that suspension.

(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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