Breeze's Banquet and Event Center in Utica will pay a hefty fine to get its liquor license back after a suspension dating back to September, involving a wedding reception.

On Tuesday, the owners of Breeze's offered a $10,000 payment to settle a violation from a September 4th wedding reception, in which the facility was charged with violating New York State regulations in regards to COVID-19 restrictions. Investigators say there were more than 160 people at the wedding reception, at a time when capacity could not exceed 50 people due to COVID restrictions. Additionally, it was discovered that another large wedding was scheduled at the facility on October 2nd, which was later cancelled.

Investigators with the Liquor Authority testified in September that when they reached out to Breeze's owner, Roxanne Roser, she denied that the wedding was scheduled. When investigators again reached out to her after the event, investigators said she again denied the occurrence of the reception. Investigators reported that it wasn't until after they made her aware of the evidence that she finally admitted that the party occurred.  "The licensee only came clean after we told her we had pictures," the investigator said.

According to testimony, there were more than 160 people at the party seated at tables close together. They added that guests were mingling and dancing and that the DJ even announced that those in attendance should not post photos of the reception, so that Breeze's wouldn't lose their liquor license.

Commissioner Greeley Ford, who is from the Mohawk Valley, recused himself because of his relationship with the owners. Ford is a longtime musician from the area and is a veteran bass player in the now retired band, Classified.

Another local case not on Tuesday's agenda was Twin Ponds Golf and Country Club in New York Mills. A wedding held there in the late summer turned into a "super spreader" event, and was tied to several cases outside Oneida County. Twin Ponds owners recently offered a $10,000 settlement, but the SLA commissioners countered with a $20,000 penalty. It's unclear if the establishment has responded to the SLA offer. Currently their liquor license is suspended. Ford recused himself from the Twin Ponds matter, as well.

Twin Ponds is also facing possible Oneida County Health Department fines, according to Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente.


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