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Owners, Captain Of NYC Boat That Hosted 170-Person Party Arrested

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The owners and captain of a New York City party boat were arrested Saturday night after hosting an “illegal party,” according to law enforcement.

New York City deputy sheriffs intercepted the Liberty Belle riverboat after receiving a complaint that it was hosting a large party, The New York Times reported. The 600-person boat had hosted more than 170 people, the New York Sheriff’s Office said.

“Deputy Sheriffs intercept the Liberty Belle at Pier 36 & arrest owners and captain for illegal party: violation of social distancing provisions of the Mayor’s and Governor’s Emergency Orders,” the New York Sheriff’s Office tweeted early Sunday morning.

Ronny Vargas and Alex Suazo, the owners of the boat, were also accused of operating an unlicensed bar, according to The Times.

The Resident Association of Two Bridges Tower, a building near the pier that the boat departed from, tweeted a picture on Saturday evening that appears to show a crowd of people on the boat.

“I am contacting city and state agencies,” Manhattan borough president Gale Brewer tweeted in response to the photo.

Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has cracked down on businesses who have violated social distancing regulations. The New York state Liquor Authority Board has suspended the liquor licenses of more than 60 businesses and has filed nearly 550 charges against businesses for violating regulations, according to a Thursday press release.

“The rising rate of infection among young people and the issue of crowded bars is not unique to New York — the World Health Organization has warned about it, states all across the country are dealing with it, and even the president has said young people should avoid bars — but we are taking decisive action in the Empire State to make sure it does not undermine our progress against the coronavirus,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo announced last Monday that the New York Department of Health was opening an investigation into a concert that was held last weekend in Southampton, New York. The “Safe & Sound” fundraiser concert was headlined by The Chainsmokers, according to NPR.

“Videos from a concert held in Southampton on Saturday show egregious social distancing violations,” Cuomo tweeted. “I am appalled.”

There have been more than 420,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 32,000 coronavirus deaths in New York, according to data compiled by The New York Times. However, hospitalizations in New York hit a record low since the beginning of the pandemic Saturday, ABC affiliate WABC-TV reported.

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Thomas Phippen

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