Staten Island “Autonomous Zone” bar raided by sheriffs, co-owner arrested after refusal to close
The Staten Island Bar that declared itself an "Autonomous Zone," refusing to close over coronavirus restrictions, has finally succumbed to law enforcement. New York Post reports that city sheriffs busted Mac's Public House on Tuesday night (12/1), arresting co-owner Danny Presti. According to the Post they did it under the eyes of a group of bar supporters, who chanted for its other co-owner, Keith McAlarney, to be freed (although he didn't appear to be present), and called for the sheriffs to be defunded.
State Senator Andrew Lanza made an appearance outside the bar, asking why Presti had been arrested. “This order simply says that they need to cease and desist," Lanza said. "Nowhere here is there an arrest warrant, nowhere here is anything about arresting anyone on their private property. So I’ll ask, you don’t have to answer... why was he arrested? I was told you would tell me why he was arrested and now I’m asking for that answer." You can watch his speech in full below.
Mac's, falling within an "orange zone" with regards to COVID restrictions, had been banned from allowing indoor dining, but the co-owners insisted upon keeping the space open in the face of fines, a shut-down order, and the suspension of its liquor license. While they were accepting donations, they gave food and drinks away for free, hoping to exploit a loophole in the zone system by claiming not to be a business.