Bar Defying COVID Rules Declares Itself 'Autonomous'

Authorities shut down NYC pub, arrested co-owner
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 2, 2020 2:34 PM CST
Cops Shut Down 'Autonomous' NYC Pub
Protesters gather around police officers outside Mac's Public House on Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, on Staten Island, NY.   (Rob DeLuca/Staten Island Advance via AP)

A New York City pub that wanted to avoid coronavirus restrictions declared itself an "autonomous zone," borrowing an idea from protesters in Seattle. It didn't work. Mac's Public House in Staten Island was shut down Tuesday after undercover officers from the New York City Sheriff's Office were served food and drink indoors in return for a "mandatory donation" of $40, the New York Daily News reports. The pub is located in an "orange zone" where restaurants are currently limited to take-out only. Dozens of protesters outside shouted at police as co-owner Danny Presti was taken away in handcuffs, reports the AP. He was charged with obstruction of governmental administration as well as charges relating to the violation of food service restrictions. The pub was fined and had its liquor license taken away last week for defying COVID restrictions.

"We refuse to abide by any rules and regulations put forth by the mayor of NYC and governor of NY state," a sign in the bar's window says, per ABC7. Co-owner Keith McAlarney told the station earlier this week that he didn't know what would happen if the police or health department tried to shut them down. "At this point, we will be respectful to any worker that comes in here, as they will be respectful to us," he said. "But we will not recognize any agency coming in here to tell us how to run our business. We will be doing business as usual." CBS New York reports that McAlarney showed up at the bar with his attorney Wednesday and said Mac's would reopen for take-out only. "I'm just trying to support my family," he said. (More New York City stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.