Nail salon violated health code by staying open for business in a Covid Red Zone. BJ New Beauty Queen Nail Spa, Inc., located at 968 McDonald Avenue, Brooklyn, was within a Covid “Red Zone.” A Covid Red Zone is an area where non-essential businesses must close due to a high infection rate. Despite the mandatory order to close, BJ New Beauty Queen remained open for business. The Department of Finance issued a summons amounting in a $15,000 fine for violating the Red Zone requirements.
The Department of Finance named BJ New Beauty Queen Nail Spa in the summons since the name appeared on the storefront awning. Another business entity, Coco Beauty Queen Nail Spa, Inc., also had an active business license for 968 McDonald Avenue.
Pan Jin Jian appeared on behalf of Coco Beauty Queen at the OATH hearing and argued that she purchased the business from BJ New Beauty Queen in 2018. Pan claimed to be the only operator at 968 McDonald Avenue and argued that the summons should be dismissed as defective because it was issued to the wrong party. Pan further argued that she was only preparing the business for reopening. Pan explained that the woman at the salon on the date of the violation was not a customer but someone helping arrange for a future reopening.
The Department of Finance in response submitted evidence showing both BJ New Beauty Queen and Coco Beauty Queen had active business licenses at 968 McDonald Avenue. The investigating officer had also asked the woman present in the store if she was there for nail services, to which the woman answered in the affirmative.
The Administrative Law Judge sustained the health code violation, stating that a clear transfer of business was not established, and the summons was proper. Pan appealed.
The OATH Appeals Board rejected Pan’s argument, affirmed the Administrative Law Judge’s decision, and levied a $15,000 dollar penalty for the violation. The Board found that Pan operated under the BJ New Beauty Queen name and license. The Board also rejected Pan’s claim that the woman seen at the premises on the inspection date was there solely to help set up the business for reopening. The Board relied on the credibility of the investigating officer and rejected Pan’s explanation for the woman’s presence.
By: Peter Carlino (Peter is a New York Law School student, Class of 2023.)
DOF v. BJ New Beauty Queen Nail Spa, Inc. OATH Appeals Division, Appeal No. 2100765 (October 21, 2021).