As COVID-19 restrictions on bars and restaurants continue in New York State, another Utica area establishment has had its liquor license pulled.

At the regular meeting of the New York State Liquor Authority on Wednesday, commissioners suspended six licenses across the state for violations related to the Governor's executive order. Each suspension was for egregious violations to social distancing mandates as part of Governor Cuomo's COVID-19 restrictions.

Breeze's Banquet Facility in Utica had its liquor license suspended as part of an emergency order by the NYSLA after allegedly violating regulations at a September 4th wedding reception in which more than 160 people attended, according to SLA investigators. Additionally, it was discovered that another large wedding was scheduled at the facility on October 2nd, according to Wednesday's testimony by the state. Investigators who say that reception at Breezes has now been cancelled.

Investigators with the Liquor Authority testified on Wednesday, that prior to the September 4th event, they received a complaint that a large wedding reception was being planned at the North Utica facility. When they reached out to Breeze's owner, Roxanne Roser, she denied that the wedding was scheduled. When investigators reached out to her after the event actually occurred, investigators say she again denied the occurrence of the reception. Investigators reported that it wasn't until after they made her aware of the evidence that she finally admitted that the party occurred.  "The licensee only came clean after we told her we had pictures," the investigator said.

According to testimony, there were more than 160 people at the party seated at tables close together. They added that guests were mingling and dancing and that the DJ even announced that those in attendance should not post photos of the reception, so that Breeze's wouldn't lose their liquor license.

"She lied directly to our investigators which makes us question her credibility going forward," the NYSLA investigator testified. He testified to his recommendation of an emergency order of suspension to protect the safety of Breeze's employees, customers and the public.

Owners of Breeze's will have an opportunity to appeal or to acknowledge the wrongdoing and offer a settlement to restore their license, sometime in the near future.

It was announced on the webcast of Wednesday's hearing that Commissioner Greeley Ford had recused himself because of his relationship with the owners. Ford is a longtime musician from the area and is a veteran bass player in the now retired band, Classified.

During Wednesday's hearing, the liquor authority also approved a liquor license for a new liquor store in Ilion. They corrected the license suspension at Twin Ponds, where an adjacent license had been suspended incorrectly. The correction properly suspended the license of the banquet facility instead of the adjacent licensee at the golf course. The authority also agreed upon a $1000 fine for Harpoon Eddie's of Sylvan Beach for social distancing violations that occurred earlier in the month.

(Screenshot NYSLA webcast)
(Screenshot NYSLA webcast)

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