- The Washington Times - Monday, November 30, 2020

A bar in New York City’s Staten Island borough has declared itself an “autonomous zone” after owners say their liquor license was revoked for refusing to close their doors due to coronavirus restrictions.

Mac’s Public House and other so-called nonessential businesses in “orange zones” were ordered closed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last week amid a widespread increase in COVID-19 cases.

The owners of Mac’s then erected signage that reads, “!ATTENTION! We hereby declare this establishment an !!!AUTONOMOUS ZONE!!!,” according to multiple reports.

Mac’s co-owner Danny Presti said in a YouTube video that the State Liquor Authority revoked their license and the health department issued a shutdown order Friday, Newsweek reported.

But he said the bar will remain defiant and stay open, and that they will give away drinks for free and ask for donations instead of making liquor sales.

“We’re not backing down,” co-owner Keith McAlarney said in the video, Newsweek reported. “You think you scared me by … saying I don’t have a license now to serve liquor now? Well guess what? That liquor license is on the wall. If that liquor license is gonna come off the wall, it’s gonna be done by Cuomo. You wanna come down here and pull that license off the wall?”

In a video posted Sunday, law enforcement officers are seen standing by as a public health official tries to serve the co-owners with a cease-and-desist letter and a public health notice. The men refused to take it, so the official taped them to the front window according to the video.

A GoFundMe page to assist the owners with any fines and legal fees raised more than $8,000 as of Monday afternoon.

“None of this is right and our Constitutional rights have been stripped away,” Mr. Presti wrote in the page’s description. “This is where we take our stand and we do it together. This isn’t just for Mac’s, this is for all of us.”

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