ERIE COUNTY, N.Y. — Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz says two bars in Western New York were shut down Friday night by the health department for not obeying the governor's takeout-only regulations.
"They (Erie County Department of Health) received tips that local establishments were operating in violation of the governor's orders, acting as if it was business as usual," Poloncarz said.
The Erie County Sheriff's office and sanitarians served close orders to A.J.'s Clarence Hollow at 10250 Main Street in Clarence and Swannie House at 170 Ohio Street in Buffalo. Both businesses are also being reported to the New York State Liquor Authority.
"In these instances we saw that people were ordering food and drink at the restaurants, we had a sanitarian place an order and once they were able to purchase that food to consume in the facility we had the evidence," Erie County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein said.
To stop the spread of COVID-19, also known as the novel coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all nonessential businesses to close on March 16.
However, Erie County said it's clear some businesses have been ignoring the governor's orders.
"These regulations are in place for a deadly serious reason, and bars and restaurants that are open in violation of the law are putting their customers and their employees at risk," Poloncarz said in a news release. "This is unacceptable and we will shut you down."
Under this regulation, bars and restaurants in New York State are allowed to stay open but only for takeout or delivery.
Poloncarz said in a Twitter post that too many people are not taking the coronavirus pandemic seriously, adding that more people are going to die as a result of this carelessness.
"If you are violating the law, we will shut you down," Poloncarz said. "You are putting your employees at risk, you are putting your patrons at risk, and we cannot have that in this community if we are going to get through this and stop the community spread."
He added, "This is serious. Please stay home."