NYC Speakeasy Owner Arrested After a Dozen People Were Found Inside: Police

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The owner of a New York City bar has been arrested for allegedly violating the social distancing order after police found at least a dozen people inside, drinking and gambling.

As bars and restaurants across the city and state have been ordered to extend their closure to April 15 to stop the spread of the coronavirus, police say they discovered the speakeasy at 354 Kings Hwy in Brooklyn on Saturday.

The bar's owner was the first in the city to be arrested over the nonessential business lockdown rules, according to the NYPD. He was charged with illegal sale of alcohol, promoting gambling and violating the mayor's order.

It was the only arrest from Saturday after NYPD officers visited 7,667 bars and restaurants in the city and found that 5,867 were closed, according to the department.

"They're going to give people every chance to listen and anyone doesn't listen they deserve a fine at this point," Mayor Bill de Blasio said, threatening to find New Yorkers up to $500 if they refuse to practice social distancing.

The city is stepping up the enforcement on the rules as the numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths continue to rapidly rise. New York State has now seen 965 coronavirus-related deaths, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday.

Copyright NBC New York
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