The emperor wants no clothes.

Pharaoh’s Gentlemen’s Club in Cheektowaga, New York, has filed a motion asking the New York Supreme Court to stop the New York State Liquor Authority from prohibiting exotic dancing on his stage.

This comes as COVID-19 cases in the area — like much of the country — continue to spike, prompting government mandates and protocols to help mitigate the spread of the virus.

Peter Gerace, owner and president of Pharaoh’s, said he was already complying with established orders, including lowered occupancy and social distancing.

The state’s liquor authority took issue with the exotic dancing still going on and that’s what Gerace is contesting.

“I’m not breaking any laws,” Gerace said, per The Buffalo News. “I’m a businessman trying to stay in business. I closed down for three months when they told me to close down. And when we were able to reopen, I followed all the rules. It’s not fair.”

As Gerace’s lawyer points out, the liquor authority permits “singing without face coverings” in front of crowds at other establishments, so why should dancing — where entertainers have masks — be exempt?

Since Pharaoh’s reopened on June 28, they have not registered any COVID infections but still had to layoff employees because of operational restrictions.

Rules Pharaoh’s has in place include:

  • Installing full-length plexiglass barriers between the stage and the tables to prevent any potential contact between dancers and patrons;
  • Spacing the tables from the stage and each other, beyond the required distance;
  • Spacing the seating at tables beyond the required distance;
  • Placing hand sanitizer and other disinfectants at every entrance, in all bathrooms, in the kitchen and in the bar area;
  • Requiring employees and patrons to wear face coverings;
  • Limiting occupancy to the mandated limit;
  • Enacting a zero-tolerance policy of sending home any employee who coughs or sneezes while on the premises.

Despite these protocols and inspections from health officials, Pharaoh’s has only been cited once: for exotic dancing.

“We complied with every single requirement given to us by the governor, the SLA and health officials,” added Gerace, per The Buffalo News. “We spent $20,000 on plexiglass, chemicals and masks for everybody. We have cleaning crews in here seven days a week.”

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