‘First round’s on me’: State Senate votes to remove food-with-beverage requirement

New York News

ALBANY, N.Y. (WSYR) — State Sen. John Mannion, a freshman Democrat from the Syracuse area, is the lead sponsor on a resolution passed Wednesday morning that removes Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s emergency order requiring people to order food with alcohol purchases at restaurants.

The Senate voted unanimously to end the executive order. The State Assembly took up and passed the same resolution Wednesday afternoon. It is now in effect, and the food rule is expired.

Speaking on the Senate Floor before its passage, Senator Mannion said he believes the rule was initiated “in good faith when COVID was ranging and vaccines seemed far away.” Since, he argues, the rule is “arbitrary and not based on science.”

Mannion said he feels the Senate’s vote is an example of New York State’s “foundational constitutional principles like checks and balances.”

“The first round’s on me,” Mannion said to end his remarks.

The vote happened within two hours of Cuomo’s announcement that he will end the midnight curfew at bars and restaurants next month. Outdoor dining can stay open until the normal 2 a.m. on May 17. Indoor dining can resume normal hours on May 31.

When asked Monday if the hours of 10 p.m. to midnight pose a greater risk for spreading COVID than midnight to 2 a.m., Gov. Andrew Cuomo said, “Yes.”

Cuomo’s office has defended the rule by saying people’s behaviors are less strict after midnight, and coronavirus can spread as people’s masks come off and people forget about social distancing.

It “ought to be repealed today as well, not next month,” State Senator Edward Rath, a Republican, said during his chance to speak on the Senate Floor

“I’m sad it took us this long,” said Republican State Senator George Borrello.

Within minutes of the vote, Republican Minority Leader, Senator Robert Ortt, emailed: The Governor may have announced that his arbitrary curfew will be lifted in a few weeks, but our small businesses can’t afford to wait another day.”

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