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Party Boat With 170 Guests Leads to Arrests in NYC

Boat's owners, captain accused of violating social distancing guidelines
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 3, 2020 2:27 AM CDT

(Newser) – A party boat allegedly cruised around New York City on Saturday night with more than 170 guests, leading to three arrests amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The four-story Liberty Belle riverboat has four bars, three outdoor decks, and can fit as many as 600; people complained to authorities about it departing Manhattan's Pier 36 around 8:30pm, and when it returned about three hours later, deputies intercepted it. The boat's captain was arrested and issued a summons for not properly displaying the craft's ID number, and the boat's two owners were arrested and charged with violations including serving liquor without a license. ABC 7 reports social distancing violations were also included in the charges.

The company that operates the boat, Empire Cruises, claims on its website that it has ceased operations until further notice due to COVID-19. It's not clear if the company had started operating again, or what type of party was held aboard the boat, though the New York Daily News reports it was 1920s-themed. The New York Times reports state officials have recently been upping crackdowns on bars and other businesses violating social distancing and other safety requirements. (Read more coronavirus stories.)

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