Staten Island bar that declared itself 'autonomous zone' skirting shutdown by not charging customers

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STATEN ISLAND (WABC) -- The Staten Island bar that declared itself an autonomous zone is testing a new tactic in hopes of staying open.

Mac's Public House has stopped charging customers. Instead, co-owner Keith McAlarney says everything is free, but they are asking for donations.

ALSO READ | As COVID cases surge on Staten Island, restaurant declares 'autonomous zone'
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Lucy Yang reports that the first COVID patient has been admitted to the emergency field hospitals in Staten Island and that more could be on the way.

The business continues to defy shutdown orders that took effect for the neighborhood on Wednesday, and since then, the state has revoked the pub's liquor license and the sheriff issued fines.

As for the idea of labeling the pub an "autonomous zone," the owners said they got the idea from activists in Seattle.

"This was a dream for me and my partner, and for it to be stripped away is very tough," McAlarney said. "And it's a very scary time we're in."

McAlarney said he is desperate to keep his Grant City pub open, and he's posted an eyebrow-raising statement plastered on the window saying, "We refuse to abide by any rules and regulations put fourth by the mayor of New York City and governor of New York state."

"It does mean what it says, but we do have proper safety measures in place," he said.

McAlarney doesn't get why restaurants are once again being singled out by Cuomo, with Staten Island designated an orange zone and indoor dining again shuttered.

ALSO READ | Illegal club with nearly 400 people inside shut down
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An illegal club with nearly 400 people inside was shut down early Saturday, the New York City Sheriff said.


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