NYC strip clubs are suing New York state over COVID shutdown
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NEW YORK – A group of exotic New York dance clubs sued New York State Thursday, saying it wasn’t fair for them to stay closed when everything can open from ax-throwing sites to live music bars and casinos.
The lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan alleged that thousands of employees were being forced out of work by the state ban due to the coronavirus. The defendants included Governor Andrew Cuomo and the state liquor licensing authority.
Exotic dance clubs such as Starlet’s, Sugar Daddy’s and Gallagher’s 2000 in Queens have asked the court to declare a violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to keep their clubs closed while other closed facilities are opened .
SOME STRIP CLUBS THAT OFFER ‘CORONAVIRUS-FREE ROUND DANCES’
The lawsuit comes because the expansion of state rules on bars and restaurants has caused many to open this week.
It was also filed after similar clashes between institutions allowing nudity or dancing in other states. In December, a California judge let two San Diego strip clubs make their own decisions to keep dancers and patrons safe during the pandemic.
A group of exotic New York dance clubs sued New York State Thursday, saying it wasn’t fair for them to stay closed when everything can open from ax-throwing sites to live music bars and casinos. (Photo by Ben Hider / Getty Images
A message was sent to the Attorney General for comment, stating that any comment must come from the governor’s office and the New York State Department. Emails to both were not returned immediately.
The lawsuit, which asserts unspecified claims for damages, alleges that four strip clubs in Queens have been ready to open with COVID-19 safety protocols since the beginning of the pandemic.
They pledged to require masks and temperature tests for guests and staff, to keep everyone safe from each other, and to regularly clean all surfaces with plenty of disinfectant in all clubs.
However, the lawsuit states that Cuomo and the state have ordered restaurants and bars “with exotic dancing to remain closed, while nightclubs, lounges, jazz dinner theaters, churches, ax-throwing venues, pool halls, wedding venues, casinos and restaurants and bars with live music and bowling alleys that pose a similar or greater risk of reopening COVID-19 transmission. “
According to the lawsuit, at least 41 other states allow similar companies to stay open.
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New York State officially banned strip clubs from operating during the pandemic in early July, although live music was allowed indoors. It was advised that other indoor facilities were also allowed to open at different times, including Saturday Night Live in October.
In the past few weeks, Cuomo has announced that large establishments like Madison Square Garden can open and movie theaters can reopen earlier this month, as can companies with recreational activities like darts, racket games and ax throwing.
Comedy clubs, nightclubs, and Broadway theaters open in April.