Captain of NY Harbor Cruise Boat Arrested on Social Distancing Charges
The New York City Sheriff's deparment reported Saturday night that its deputies have arrested the owners and the captain of the harbor cruise vessel Liberty Belle for holding an "illegal party" in violation of local and state social distancing regulations. They also face allegations of liquor law violations.
The intercept and arrest occurred shortly after a bystander's social media post depicted the vessel leaving the pier with a small crowd of people in close proximity on her upper decks. The image does not suggest that they were using masks.
So a packed Liberty Belle party boat just departed from Pier 36 on the LES waterfront with no apparent social distancing or mask requirement. Who has jurisdiction over these floating nightclubs? @galeabrewer @CM_MargaretChin @yuhline @BrianKavanaghNY @NYPD7Pct pic.twitter.com/DVWXB3XrDz— twobridgestower (@twobridgestower) August 2, 2020
The police alleged that the vessel's operators were serving liquor without an active liquor license and failing to adhere to social distancing requirements. At present, indoor events at night life venues are not permitted within New York City. New York State regulations currently prohibit gatherings of 50 or more people at any location in the state, and face masks are mandatory in public settings whenever people are within six feet of each other.
The Liberty Belle is operated by Empire Cruises and is deployed on short-term charter trips as a party and event venue for corporations, non-profits and private individuals. She has a pre-coronavirus rated capacity of 600 guests, with three indoor and three outdoor decks.