Local businesses: Extended restaurant and bar curfew a positive, limited step

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Beginning Monday, restaurants, and bars across the state will be able to keep their doors open an extra hour, with the curfew on these businesses extended from 11 p.m. to midnight.

“This will, at least for us, it will get us back to normal during the week, we were open until midnights. We were open until 1 [a.m.] or 2 [a.m.] depending on business on the weekends,” said Vito Gaudino, the general manager of The Fountain.

While local establishments say it’s a positive step forward, the extra hour can only go so far.

“I mean even just moving it a couple more hours to 2 o’clock would be wonderful. We have staff members who still haven’t been able to come back to work in over a year because we don’t need them,” said Jennifer Kelleher, a waitress and bartender at Graney’s Bar & Grill.

Establishments along Albany’s New Scotland Avenue are reliant on late night business, something they say has been impaired by the state’s continued curfew.

“People from the Fountain, people on this street, come to us after their shift, get something to eat, something to drink. We don’t see them anymore, so we miss them,” Kelleher says.

That, along with other restrictions like mandating the purchase of food with alcohol, has meant a difficult year plus for these businesses.

“It has had a remarkably negative impact on us. We do a wonderful dinner business, and then like a lot of places on this street, we do a substantial late night business,” said Gaudino.

Some in the business also frustrated as others, like entertainment venues including bowling alleys, billiard halls and casinos no longer have a state curfew.

“If it’s okay there, why is it any different than in our setting?” Gaudino asked.

In addition to restaurants and bars, the curfew on catering events will also be extended. Those events will now be able to run until 1 a.m., after previously being restricted to midnight.

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