A Staten Island pub that declared itself an “autonomous zone” in defiance of state coronavirus restrictions is opening again — and suing the state over the restrictions.
Daniel Presti, co-owner of Mac’s Public House, said at a press conference Monday that the popular watering hole is open again for the first time since December after continued court delays have put a damper on business.
“We’ve been closed because of respect for the courts and the judges,” Presti said. “Unfortunately, our court date went from February to March now to April.”
“We just can’t sit by idly anymore, because the Constitution is getting torn up directly in front of all of our faces,” he said. “We’re losing more and more rights every single day. So, Mac’s is going to open and we’re going to open. We’re not going to follow any mandates.”
“You want to wear masks? You can wear masks. You don’t, you don’t have to.”
The Staten Island pub made headlines last year for continuing to open for business despite state social distancing restrictions during the pandemic that shuttered Big Apple eateries.
Mac’s co-owner Daniel Presti has repeatedly been fined by the sheriff’s office for defying the restrictions and was charged with driving into a deputy outside the bar on Dec. 6.
A grand jury declined to indict Presti in January on assault charges in the case, which injured Sgt. Kenneth Matos — but he was charged with operating without a license.
On Monday, lawyers for Mac’s said they also plan to file a lawsuit against the state and Gov. Andrew Cuomo under equal protection claims.
The lawsuit, which is due to be filed this week, seeks to allow Mac’s and other bars to remain open until 4 a.m., instead of the current 11 p.m. curfew established by the state.
The move follows a recent Supreme Court ruling in Rochester allowing 90 bars and restaurants that sued to remain open until 4 a.m., Fox News reported.
The suit due to be filed by Mac’s lawyers claims selective enforcement of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, with the guidelines varying in different parts of the Empire State.
“We’re still following mandates and orders from a governor who should be locked in jail,” Presti said. “Why is this happening?”
Cuomo has been beset by a series of controversies, including allegations of sexual misconduct by more than a half-dozen women, including former staffers.
Presti also accused Mayor Bill de Blasio of being partially responsible for the economic damage done to small businesses due to pandemic restrictions.
“Now you want to sit there and call for the resignation of the governor and say that you may actually run for governor,” Presti said. “In no way what you’re doing is acceptable. You failed the students, all the kids in this entire city.”
“You need to go as well,” he added.
He said the bar’s owners would take it “very easy” on Monday, opening the doors largely for family and friends.