Liquor stores challenging Paterson mayor’s emergency coronavirus business closures | Paterson Times

Liquor stores challenging Paterson mayor’s emergency coronavirus business closures


A group of liquor store owners are seeking state intervention to remove their shops from mayor Andre Sayegh’s restrictive state of emergency order that forces non-essential businesses in New Jersey’s third biggest municipality to close indefinitely due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

Sayegh’s executive order shutting down businesses beginning at 6 p.m. on Monday contradicts the order issued by governor Phil Murphy, said Sammy Torres, president of the Paterson Bar and Liquor Store Association.

“The state says you can stay open until 8 o’clock; the Paterson mayor closes you down altogether. That’s the issue at hand,” said Torres, who is the brother of former mayor Jose “Joey” Torres. Murphy’s order allows restaurants and liquor stores to remain open but limit their operations to delivery and take out services. Sayegh’s order forces them to close during the state of emergency. Torres cites the governor’s executive order which states counties and municipalities cannot put in place rules that conflict with the governor’s order.

“The governor’s order is very specific, you can sell packages to go,” said Torres. “We’re asking for a stay of the [local] order because of the exigent circumstances involved.” He said the stay is being sought from James Graziano, director of the state division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC).

Torres said the closure is creating great hardship for liquor stores in Paterson. His association represents 92 liquor license holders, he said. He said as many as 100 residents are out of work due to the closure.

“We have a public health crisis. We do have people congregating, especially outside his establishment,” said Sayegh referring to crowds outside of Midtown Liquors on Broadway. “I can’t have people congregating. The only weapon we have in this war is social distancing.”

Chaos and Confusion

Sayegh unveiled his state of emergency order on Monday morning. Police were enforcing the order beginning at 6 p.m. Next morning, there was chaos and confusion. Many business owners were unsure whether to open or remain closed.

Council members, who received calls from business owners, did not have many answers. Some expressed frustration at the confusion created by the mayor’s order.

“It’s another example of poor execution,” said councilman Flavio Rivera on Tuesday. There was apparent poor and uneven enforcement of the emergency order. Some businesses were open while others were closed on Tuesday.

Rivera said businesses in the vicinity of City Hall were open on Tuesday morning. Council members are holding an emergency meeting on Thursday afternoon to discuss the city’s response to the pandemic.

Torres said businesses were never given notice of the closure order. A laundromat owner contacted the Paterson Times to ask whether she can open her store on Tuesday.

Sayegh said on Tuesday the city was attempting to clarify the emergency order by distributing flyers, playing a recorded message from a sound truck throughout the city, and making robocalls.

On Tuesday, most businesses along major thoroughfares were open due to confusion and chaos. By late Wednesday afternoon, businesses in much of the city, excluding those deemed essential, were closed.

Some businesses cleverly remained open on Wednesday. Stores were observed feigning closure by leaving their gates down while allowing customers in through the door. Some turned off the neon open sign but were serving customers.

At least one business put up a sign on its front door protesting the mayor’s order.

“We are closed as we are not considered an essential business,” read a sign posted outside of the MicroCenter on Route 20. In a second sign the business urged patrons to call the mayor’s office and tell City Hall to allow MicroCenter to open to serve the “essential needs of our community.”

MicroCenter sells computer equipment that some argue is essential for people working from home during the coronavirus crisis.

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  • John Brown

    Liquor stores are not essential!
    Just another crooked Torres benefiting
    From the public. In a Crisis.this is what this Evil Family does!

    • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/YXNpZADpBWEY2Qm0zTkVhRW1ENjFEOVVlNGlQVGVFMGlJRkRNVjY1YjR3UGNqQ1BsSlFWaHI5bE1pLTQ3QWNCdE1ieUY5UDgwck1PbTBvRVFISTR4WncwMFJaOWlwTUVidWp5SW5YbkpfQXQ1T2dSYwZDZD/ Samuel Torres

      My friend John Brown, which i'm almost certain is an alias. Who is afraid to put his photo along his name. I served 1 year in vietnam to protect the rights that this country give us. When regulation and laws are applied equally I have no problem. But, laws that arbitrary and capricious must be challenged. I will continue to fight and never stop fighting until we seize these violations that affect human rights and human dignity.

      • Biggerthansafaree

        Youre a weirdo for putting your picture on the comments section of a paterson newspaper

        • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/YXNpZADpBWEY2Qm0zTkVhRW1ENjFEOVVlNGlQVGVFMGlJRkRNVjY1YjR3UGNqQ1BsSlFWaHI5bE1pLTQ3QWNCdE1ieUY5UDgwck1PbTBvRVFISTR4WncwMFJaOWlwTUVidWp5SW5YbkpfQXQ1T2dSYwZDZD/ Samuel Torres

          Stop hiding under an alias. you and the other assholes are probably one and the same

          • Biggerthansafaree

            Lmao you idiot dont you realize youre the only one that has ever put up a real picture on the comments section of a paterson newspaper. Oh by the way your boy florio wanted to know hows your brother joey?

          • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/YXNpZADpBWEY2Qm0zTkVhRW1ENjFEOVVlNGlQVGVFMGlJRkRNVjY1YjR3UGNqQ1BsSlFWaHI5bE1pLTQ3QWNCdE1ieUY5UDgwck1PbTBvRVFISTR4WncwMFJaOWlwTUVidWp5SW5YbkpfQXQ1T2dSYwZDZD/ Samuel Torres

            Joey did his time like a man. He is not like you writing articles using an alias. By the way Paterson Times links to FB.

          • Biggerthansafaree

            Well he did his time, he had no choice. Idk if like a man though. Rumor is going around that Florios private investigator has a video of him giving up his ass to his cellmates.

          • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/YXNpZADpBWEY2Qm0zTkVhRW1ENjFEOVVlNGlQVGVFMGlJRkRNVjY1YjR3UGNqQ1BsSlFWaHI5bE1pLTQ3QWNCdE1ieUY5UDgwck1PbTBvRVFISTR4WncwMFJaOWlwTUVidWp5SW5YbkpfQXQ1T2dSYwZDZD/ Samuel Torres

            You probably can't do 1 day in jail. You will do what Epstein did. People like you are a frustrated piece of shit. Putting comments and don't want anyone to know who you are. Your M.O. is probably picking up prostitutes on Broadway.

          • Biggerthansafaree

            Jail aint shit pussy….. if i came to you, you would call your cops and cop friends and cop family members. You can know exactly who i am but youre not gonna do anything about it. Youre a fake tough guy, police are your friends

          • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/YXNpZADpBWEY2Qm0zTkVhRW1ENjFEOVVlNGlQVGVFMGlJRkRNVjY1YjR3UGNqQ1BsSlFWaHI5bE1pLTQ3QWNCdE1ieUY5UDgwck1PbTBvRVFISTR4WncwMFJaOWlwTUVidWp5SW5YbkpfQXQ1T2dSYwZDZD/ Samuel Torres

            Stop using an alias. Be a man.

          • Biggerthansafaree

            What would you do? If i used my real name like an idiot like you do. What would you do? Nothing at all… stop being a fake tough guy no one believes you. Its not that anybodys worried about you, theres just no need to put your actual name and picture like you do. And no you dont have to link your facebook to the comments section like you do. Youre just retarded.

          • Biggerthansafaree

            Lol thats funny you of all people talking about prostitutes on broadway when youre the one that pays for pussy from the whores you hire at your bar. stop paying for them girls rent just for a little bit of action old man.

          • Biggerthansafaree

            Lol thats funny talking about prostitutes on broadway when youre the one that pays for pussy from some of the whores you hire at your bar.

          • Plumber

            He said his brother Did his time like a man yeah and you can call that gay country club were all politicians do their time a real jail he would have never made it in a real prison with his ass intact acting like his brother is hard he just takes it hard

    • That Dude

      The Torres Family have been a plight on the city, Garbage!!!

  • Virginia Wright

    I wish Microcenter should reopen. Many are working from home, not to mention our children's at home schooling, we need our devices and access to parts, service and repairs for them.

  • Plumber

    Torres is a selfish piece of shit who profits for Patersons unfortunate and addicted folks he doesn't give a fuck about nobody but himself as a matter of fact his liquor store on Broadway is the main problem of all the bullshit going on in that area they should close his liquor store for good

    • SamiAm

      you know Torres is not the mayor anymore

      • Biggerthansafaree

        Hes talking about the former mayors brother sammy torres who has a couple liquor stores in paterson.

    • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/YXNpZADpBWEY2Qm0zTkVhRW1ENjFEOVVlNGlQVGVFMGlJRkRNVjY1YjR3UGNqQ1BsSlFWaHI5bE1pLTQ3QWNCdE1ieUY5UDgwck1PbTBvRVFISTR4WncwMFJaOWlwTUVidWp5SW5YbkpfQXQ1T2dSYwZDZD/ Samuel Torres

      PLumber be a man and don't use an alias. Gutless piece of —-

      • Biggerthansafaree

        Lol sammy why are you being a fake tough guy on the internet. Even if you had his picture name and address you wouldnt do anything about it.

    • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/YXNpZADpBWEY2Qm0zTkVhRW1ENjFEOVVlNGlQVGVFMGlJRkRNVjY1YjR3UGNqQ1BsSlFWaHI5bE1pLTQ3QWNCdE1ieUY5UDgwck1PbTBvRVFISTR4WncwMFJaOWlwTUVidWp5SW5YbkpfQXQ1T2dSYwZDZD/ Samuel Torres

      You know the area. Do you buy drugs there?

  • keymaker

    It is confusing. The city had 2 notices on their website. One looked very official, that said that all business must close their doors at 6pm every day and it was dated and signed by the Mayor, the other notice which said that all businesses where to remain close until further notice looked kind of bogus. Cause it wasn’t signed by no one or didn’t say who order it. It didn’t even had a phone number to call so yeah it is kind of confusing.

  • Ether

    Why is Micro Center not an essential buisness?
    Remote learning, teleconferencing, working from home… Sounds easy, right? It's not. As soon as you realize you're one wire short of operation, or hardware starts overheating, or way too many other circumstances, you're screwed.
    Makes no sense.

  • Plumber

    Let me tell you something torres you say you served in Vietnam bullshit I'm also a soldier who did my time and if and when my country state or local government asked me to participate by helping out just by closing said business I would do it in a heartbeat don't act because you say you served we're supposed to put you in a do not touch category fuck you your now more as a piece of shit believing your business is more important than the community and as far as alias alias these nuts you piece of shit

    • chris pandorf

      Each one of you bozos telling those of us to close businesses are jealous trash bags. You did nothing with your life and you salivate at these draconian laws that are being forced on us in the name of health for a dam flu. Torres is right and your just jealous cuz you e done zero with your life. Get lost losers.

    • https://www.facebook.com/app_scoped_user_id/YXNpZADpBWEY2Qm0zTkVhRW1ENjFEOVVlNGlQVGVFMGlJRkRNVjY1YjR3UGNqQ1BsSlFWaHI5bE1pLTQ3QWNCdE1ieUY5UDgwck1PbTBvRVFISTR4WncwMFJaOWlwTUVidWp5SW5YbkpfQXQ1T2dSYwZDZD/ Samuel Torres

      Learned to write you drop out. Illiterate piece of shit.

      • Biggerthansafaree

        You joey and the whole torres fam are pieces of shit. Corrupt thieves

      • Plumber

        I learns how writes real goodum
        By the way it's learn to write
        Even with spell check your still stupid

  • Diana Van Winkle

    I hate to say this but alcoholics will have withdrawals and get very sick. I get the fact people should not be hanging out and large crowds I totally got that it's like a catch-22 I really is it this is just horrible you know what I told just pray that it will be over very soon

  • John

    This is one of those times I agree with the Mayor. These liquor stores are the worst of places and times like these are best they close for ALL purposes.

  • chris pandorf

    Torres is right you punks hide behind a dam alias because you sit in your mom's basement 350 lbs and have no job did nothing with your life. Then you hate on people like Torres or anyone who has a business you get a hard on when business men lose profits because your miserable and your jealous. Get a life and get off welfare. Joey won his election you could never dream of doing anything like that your pathetic and miserable.

    • Biggerthansafaree

      Lol at thinking owning some shitty liquor store in paterson means youre a business man to be jealous of. Retail is dead. Nobody buys at convenience liquor stores. Its all about warehouse liquor stores on route 20, bjs, costco, amazon, etc. Yea joey won and got sent off to prison lmao. All for a little bit of free labor from taxpayers for his gay brother sammys liquor store lmao.

      • chris pandorf

        Owning a liquor store is light years away from anything you've ever done. And stating that the business is moving to the big box stores shows how stupid you are. You want to give all the control and power to billionaire companies rather than support the little guy like Torres why because your jealous. Get a life

        • Biggerthansafaree

          You dont know anything about what I do. and you thinking a liquor store in paterson is light years beyond anything shows how little you know. On top of the competition from the big box stores, paterson allows liquor stores on almost every corner. So youre basically limited to walk by traffic from people that live on that block. in addition its also a low margin business even on the convenience side of the business. End result is obviously none of these stores are making any even half decent money.

          • chris pandorf

            I guarantee you've done nothing with your life. I can tell in the petty way you talk. Your a low IQ jealous hater. That's easy to see.

  • dspekter

    So what I'm hearing from Mayor Sayegh and @biggerthansafaree:disqus is go to "bjs, costco, amazon, etc." and open an underground club :D LOL #ProhibitionsOver

    @Diana Van Winkle is right. Withdrawal from alcohol carries a high risk of death and must be medically assisted. Keep the liquor stores and bars open for carry out only. This keep the emergency calls on alcoholics from sky rocketing. This will keep strain off already strained medical professionals.

    If loitering, not drinking or selling booze, is the problem, why not actually enforce laws for loitering? Every liquor store has a sign outside: No loitering. Police enforced, or handwritten "Please do not stay outside the store. Not to play scratch off or any other reason". Why not actually enforce that?

    • Biggerthansafaree

      I didnt say anything about me wanting for people to go to bjs costco. I also dont agree that liquor stores need to be completely closed all day. Paterson is the only town doing that, and its over the top and unnecessary especially if other stores are allowed to operate.