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Judge: SLA must give restaurants suing state liquor licenses back

Posted at 6:28 PM, Jan 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-19 18:28:09-05

ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. (WKBW) — Supreme Court Judge Paul Wojtaszek issued a temporary restraining order saying the State Liquor Authority must give Santora's, Papi Grande and Prescott Provisions their liquor licenses back. These restaurants are part of the group of more than 90 that have sued the state to reopen indoor dining.

On December 31, the owner of Santora's Pizza Pub and Grill, Paul Santora, appeared on Fox and Friends with attorneys from HoganWillig to discuss the lawsuit against the state. Hours later, the State Liquor Authority stripped Santoras of their liquor license, saying they did not have proper ventilation on their patio.

"They're claiming there's this immediate danger to the public," Attorney Corey Hogan told 7 Eyewitness News, "We've been able to determine among all our clients, especially Santora's in this case, there has actually never been any kind of a virus transmission traced to our clients facility."

Paul Santora said the experience made him fear owning a business in Erie County.

"I'm scared. I'm scared. The time has come where, I'm 56 years old, and it's the first time I'm actually scared to live in the United States of America," Santora said.

Last week, Judge Henry Nowak announced the restaurants in orange zones could reopen indoor dining. The Erie County Health Department and New York State Health Department said all restaurants in orange zones across the state could reopen indoor dining, not just those named in the lawsuit.