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State suspends liquor licenses of Swannie House, AJ's Hollow for violating emergency shutdown order

Posted at 3:26 PM, Apr 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-07 15:56:05-04

ALBANY, N.Y. (WKBW) — The New York State Liquor Authority has suspended the liquor licenses of Swannie House in Buffalo and AJ's Hollow in Clarence for violating Governor Cuomo's executive order banning bars and restaurants from serving food and beverages on premises.

The Erie County Health Department shut down both businesses on March 27th after a visit by inspectors.

According to the health department, an inspector observed about a dozen people inside Swannie House on Ohio Street around 8:30 p.m. that Saturday night. On the same day, the state says a county inspector saw 11 people mingling and drinking alcoholic inside AJ's on Main Street.

The SLA has charged both businesses with two violations - failure to comply with the governor's executive order and failure to supervise the licensed premises.

"Continuing to operate business-as-usual during this crisis demonstrates a dangerous indifference to the health and safety of others, and the SLA will not hesitate in taking immediate actions to shut these businesses down, said SLA Chairman Vincent Bradley. "We understand suspending dine-in service has caused a major, though necessary economic disruption for our licensees, and we thank the overwhelming majority of businesses who are prioritizing the public's best interest in our cooperative efforts to stem the tide of the coronavirus."

Both businesses remain closed.

The owners can bring their case to an administrative law judge for a hearing. Their liquor licenses will remain suspended until modified by a court or the SLA.

On Monday, Governor Cuomo announced all non-essential businesses will remain closed at least through the end of April due to the COVID-19 crisis. Restaurants and bars can offer take-out service during this time but patrons cannot consume food or drink inside or outside the business.