NYC authorities break up 200-person party at Queens catering hall
The New York City Sheriff’s Office busted a party of more than 200 people who were flouting coronavirus restrictions at a Queens catering hall early Saturday.
Deputies crashed the bash at the Queens Luxe Banquet Hall on Rockaway Boulevard in Ozone Park at 1:35 a.m. — and said they found some 215 maskless revelers dancing, drinking and smoking hookah inside.
“Patrons were not social distancing, not wearing proper face coverings, and not adhering to the Mayoral and Gubernatorial COVID-19 Emergency Executive orders,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.
The venue had been hosting a hookah party — meant to be capped at 45 guests — that people paid to get into, sources said.
In addition to violating Mayor Bill de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s COVID-19 rules, the catering hall was also operating without a liquor license, authorities said.
The owner, 47-year-old Johnny Albuja, and an employee, Miguel Hernandez, 49, were slapped with five summonses each for violation of emergency orders, unlicensed sale of alcohol and unlicensed warehousing of alcohol, the sheriff’s office said.
Two other staffers, Juan Carlos Barona Uribe and Luis David Mera Acosta, both 27, were each issued summonses for violation of emergency orders.
Coronavirus guidelines in New York currently allow indoor arts and entertainment spaces to operate at 25 percent capacity — with all patrons required to wear a face covering except when eating or drinking.
According to its website, the Queens Luxe has two ballrooms, one with a maximum capacity of 160 people and another that can hold up to 250 guests.
A request to the venue for comment wasn’t immediately returned Saturday night.
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