New York Republican legislators push to lift curfews on bars and restaurants

NY Capitol News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Republican representatives from both houses of New York’s legislature are calling on the Democratic supermajority to lift statewide curfews on bars and restaurants. Currently, they’re set to close at 11 p.m.

Republicans held a press conference at 1 p.m. on the third floor of the Million Dollar Staircase at the State Capitol. Leadership spoke of efforts to end what they call “the Governor’s arbitrary and capricious” curfew, set by executive order by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in November.

Specifically, they introduced a concurrent resolution (J541) that would rescind the 11 p.m. curfew.

“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. 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,” said Rob Ortt, the Senate Republican Leader.

Previously, Republicans drafted a resolution (B477) rescinding the ban on serving alcohol without food. They say the Democratic majority has not allowed it on the floor for a vote.

At restaurants, pickup and takeout have been available past 11 p.m., just no service inside. Capacity limits have also been lifted at restaurants, though many say keeping tables 6-feet apart still drastically limits space for more diners.

A similar limit on business hours for casinos, pool halls, bowling alleys, and gyms will be lifted as of April 5. Places to eat and drink, which have notoriously struggled throughout the pandemic, have been given no such timeline. Cuomo has said that the Department of Health will reassess the situation at restaurants and bars in April.

Republicans say the Legislature can revoke any existing executive orders from the governor.

Several members of the Republican legislature will be present alongside those below:

  • Assembly Republican Leader Will Barclay (R,C,I-Pulaski)
  • Senate Republican Leader Rob Ortt (R-Tonawanda)
  • Assemblyman Jarett Gandolfo (R,C,I-Sayville)
  • Assemblyman Michael Reilly (R-South Shore)
  • Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio (R,C,I-Riverhead) 
  • Sen. Sue Serino (R,C,IP-41st Senate District)
  • Sen. George Borrello (R,C,IP,LIBT-57th Senate District)
  • Sen. Alexis Wiek (R,C-3rd Senate District)

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