Ortt, other Republican state legislators want 11 p.m. curfew lifted on bars, restaurants

Posted 27 March 2021 at 8:48 am

Press Release, State Sen. Rob Ortt

Senate Republican Leader Robert Ortt on Friday was joined by State Senators Ed Rath, George Borrello, and State Assemblymen Angelo Morinello and Mike Norris to discuss a newly introduced resolution (J541) to rescind Governor Cuomo’s arbitrary 11 p.m. curfew for bars and restaurants. The event was held at Soliday’s Restaurant in Niagara Falls – just one of the many restaurants that the arbitrary mandates of Gov. Cuomo have severely impacted.

Last November, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.74 that imposed a 10 p.m. curfew for bars, restaurants, gyms, fitness centers, and other facilities throughout the New York State. Earlier this year, he extended the curfew to 11 p.m. Just last week, he lifted it all together for gyms, fitness centers, casinos, movie theaters, bowling alleys, and billiard halls beginning April 5. However, he left the 11 p.m. curfew in place for bars and restaurants. Western New York’s positivity rate currently sits below 3 percent.

“Earlier this month, we heard the Democrat Majorities claim that they had revoked the Governor’s emergency powers and had taken back authority from him,” said Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt. “Clearly, that was all theatrics, or else this egregious, non-scientific mandate would no longer be in place. These arbitrary rules remain in effect at the whim of one man, our embattled Governor, and they continue to harm our small businesses. The longer Democrats in the State Legislative Majorities refuse to act in bringing our commonsense proposals to the floor, the longer these bars and restaurants will be forced to suffer. The prolonged inaction by Democrats is killing our state’s restaurant industry.”

Legislative Republicans have been leading the charge to repeal the Governor’s emergency powers since last May. On March 5, the Majorities put forward a Democrat-negotiated bill with the Governor’s office supposedly intended to remove the Governor’s emergency powers. However, that bill did not go far enough and was not an actual repeal, as has been made clear since its passage. Arbitrary rules, including the curfew on restaurants and bars, remain in effect, further harming our small businesses.

Under the bill passed by the Majorities – and agreed to by the Governor’s office – directives already made by the Governor remain in effect. He maintains the ability to modify or extend them. Senator Gianaris stated, “if there is something in there you don’t like, put it in a resolution and call for its repeal. We have the ability to do that with a simple majority.”

Since the beginning of the 2021-2022 Legislative Session, the Senate Republican Conference has introduced an amendment to fully rescind the Governor’s emergency powers 33 times. Each time, Senate Democrats have unanimously voted against this amendment.

“The Governor’s use and abuse of his emergency powers has resulted in countless Executive Orders that not only defy sound science, but common sense,” Borrello said. “There is no better example of this than the 11 p.m. curfew, whose underlying premise is that at 11:01 p.m., the coronavirus becomes more transmissible and only in certain places, like restaurants. While senseless, this edict and others like it, have been far from harmless. They have pushed many restaurants and bars to the financial brink with overly harsh restrictions that have made it difficult, and even impossible, to sustain their operations and keep employees on the payroll.”