Coronavirus: New York bar owner becomes first to be arrested for ignoring lockdown

Gino Spocchia
NYPD officers arrested a man on Saturday for operating a bar during coronavirus lockdown: REUTERS

The owner of a bar in New York City has been arrested for operating in contravention of the city’s coronavirus lockdown measures.

New York police confirmed on Monday that 56-year-old Vasil Pando had been arrested on Saturday night at an address in Brooklyn.

Around a dozen people were found drinking, gambling, and flouting guidelines on social distancing when NYPD officers arrived.

New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, has ordered all bars and restaurants in the state of New York to close until April 15 to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

The Brooklyn bar owner is the first to be arrested for ignoring the lockdown order on nonessential businesses in New York. He was charged with illegal sale of alcohol, promoting gambling and violating the mayor’s order.

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According to the NYPD, the arrest on Saturday came after officers visited 7,667 bars and restaurants in the city and found 5,867 closed.

“They’re going to give people every chance to listen and anyone doesn’t listen they deserve a fine at this point,” said the city’s mayor, Bill de Blasio, on Sunday.

Mr de Blasio added that New Yorkers could face fines up to $500 fine for not social distancing.

It comes as the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus increased by 7,200 on Sunday.