Republicans in State Legislature want restaurant and bar curfew lifted

Staff Reports Posted 22 March 2021 at 3:15 pm

ALBANY – Republicans in the State Legislature held a news conference today to announce a resolution to rescind Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 11 p.m. curfew for bars and restaurants.

Last November, Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.74 that imposed a 10 p.m. curfew for bars, restaurants, gyms, fitness centers, and other facilities throughout the state. Earlier this year, he extended the curfew to 11 p.m., and just last week, lifted it altogether for gyms, fitness centers, casinos, movie theaters, bowling alleys, and billiard halls beginning April 5.

However, he left the arbitrary and damaging rule in place for bars and restaurants, saying it would be reevaluated next month.

“Despite claims by the Democratic Majorities that they revoked the Governor’s emergency powers, there are still egregious mandates in place that have absolutely no scientific basis,” said State Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt of North Tonawanda. “These arbitrary rules remain in effect at the whim of one man – our embattled Governor – and they continue to harm our small businesses. I’m hopeful the Majority will bring our commonsense proposal to the floor and join us in providing some relief to our bars and restaurants who have been devastated by the pandemic.”

“It’s obvious that we are no longer operating under a system where science is driving decisions,” said Will Barclay, the Assembly Republican Leader from Pulaski. “There is no data that explains lifting curfews on certain facilities and leaving bars and restaurants off that list. Overturning Gov. Cuomo’s senseless, arbitrary directives is as easy as passing a resolution. It’s time for Democrats to take that step.”

State Assembly members Michael Norris, R-Lockport, and Steve Hawley, R-Batavia, both urged the curfew for bars and restaurants to be rescinded. They both represent districts that ncludes parts of Orleans County.

“As the sponsor of the New York Business Emergency Relief Act, I know how urgently small businesses across our state need help — every dollar counts now more than ever before,” Norris said in a statement. “With our economy reopening and more people being vaccinated, along with studies proving that the Covid-19 spread was largely something that happened outside of restaurants to begin with, I cannot understand why our hardworking restaurant industry is still being unfairly punished with arbitrary curfews that are stifling business and further endangering their ability to survive. These curfews must be lifted immediately.”