A new banner was installed above Roger’s Frigate candy and ice cream shop in Port Jeff Tuesday, May 26. While previous politically minded banners above the candy shop expressed support for President Donald Trump (R), the latest one now reads “Impeach Cuomo.”
Roger Rutherford, the general manager of Roger’s Frigate, reiterated he has no control over signs being put up because longtime Port Jefferson shop owner George Wallis owns the building. Rutherford did however support Wallis’ right to free speech.
“He has a strong belief in protesting Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and his reopening plan,” the general manager said. “George is frustrated that he can’t reopen and believes that he can run business safely.”
Sometime around midday Wednesday, May 27, a person reportedly trespassed upstairs on the frigate’s property and defaced the banner with spray paint. Rutherford said the banner was temporarily removed, but was back up by the end of the day Wednesday.
“The police were called and they are currently looking for this woman who vandalized our property,” Rutherford said.
Back in February, Wallis installed a pro-Trump banner above of the frigate. Village officials said that it violated village code and fined the business owner $2,000 a day for the time it had not been taken down.
Mayor Margot Garant said the banner is an illegal sign.
“The sign was just put up yesterday late afternoon and our legal department is handling the situation,” she said.
Steam Room Receives Distancing Complaints Memorial Day Weekend
The East Broadway seafood restaurant was on the receiving end of a social distancing complaint earlier this week, with Suffolk County police responded to the 311 call. George Wallis is also the owner of the restaurant space.
Rutherford didn’t know the nature of the call but said the complaint was the result of the outside dining on the restaurant’s premises.
“They thought they were being safe by having tables six to 10 feet apart,” he said.
Multiple posts to social media included pictures of the Steam Room’s dining area, which is enclosed but exposed to the outside, packed with sit down diners Memorial Day weekend, despite current mandates that all restaurants be restricted to takeout or pickup operations.
SCPD warned the restaurant owners that they couldn’t operate outside dining and said it could face further fines and penalties if it continued, according to Rutherford.
Suffolk County Police confirmed the restaurant was visited a total of three times Sunday and Monday for noncompliance complaints. The restaurant removed seating after the first complaint to comply with the New York on PAUSE order, police said. They found the restaurant to be in compliance the second and third time they were called.
Garant was adamant restaurants needed to comply with the PAUSE order.
“Restaurants cannot have outside dining,” the mayor said. “We are not in Phase 3 yet, they can only do take-out [at this time] … I think what happened was unfortunate.”
The Mayor also added that the village and the Business Improvement District have given owners specific guidelines on what they’re able to do during this time.
“We want them to operate responsibly, but we have to continue to follow these mandates if we want to get to the other side and stay open,” she said.