Republican lawmakers and restaurateurs calling to end curfew

NY Capitol News

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that the curfew for bars and restaurants will be moved from 11 p.m. to midnight starting Monday.

Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay says, while the extra hour will be some boost, the curfew should be removed altogether. “Although we certainly welcome that change, we don’t think it’s enough. It’s sort of a half measure that doesn’t get us where we need to be,” Barclay said.

“The anger is probably more brought on, those tears are anger that we have to listen to someone that just on a whim decides they’re going to change the game,” said Caren Paterniti, Owner of The Howling Rooster in Tonawanda.  

On a conference call Wednesday, after announcing the curfew modification, the Governor said, “We caution New Yorkers don’t get cocky. The disease is still very much with us. You see it escalating in some states. You see it escalating in some countries.”

New York’s 132 District Assemblyman, Phil Palmesano told 18 News, this curfew extension is pointless and the curfew should be removed.

“There’s no science that shows after midnight that transmission is going to happen faster or more than it would before midnight so he’s basing this on just arbitrary decision making, which he is calling scientific,” Assemblyman Palmesano said.

He said he agrees with the committee members, including Assemblyman Chris Friend. Friend said the there’s hotspots around the state but New York City is the epicenter of the country.

Assemblyman Friend also used Chemung County in the Southern Tier as an example that one size does not fit all.

“Look at Chemung County, who was in the orange and yellow zones for 10 or 12 weeks,” Assemblyman Friend said. “When we asked the governor why these restrictions were in place, he said he didn’t know. The one size fits all approach doesn’t work. You need to bring that control back to our local health departments and provide the funding to local health departments and the staff to the local health departments to be able to do the monitoring to see what’s going on. And not just continually picking and choosing which businesses can be opened for no reason.”

Last month, lawmakers passed a bill to give the legislature more oversight when it comes to the Governor’s Emergency Powers. When the Governor wants to extend or amend an existing order, he must give notice to relevant committee chairs, Assembly Speaker, and Senate Majority Leader. Republicans, who are in the minority, say they found out about the curfew change when the Governor announced it with everyone else. 

“Every member of our conference signed a letter to the Speaker asking to be provided with documentation to better understand why the Governor and his administration extended this curfew,” Barclay said.

One business owner in Elmira, N.Y. said he’s been open for 21 years and almost shut down due to the restrictions.

“It’s been a roller coaster,” said Dain Reese, Owner of Roundin’ Third. “I don’t think if we hadn’t been here for so long and established so many relationships I don’t think we’d have made it. It’s been months and it’s time to just open up.”

And the owner of Brady’s Pub told 18 News, these restrictions aren’t doing anything. He said people are at risk of being infected at 10:00 p.m. and at midnight.

“There’s no real need to have these restrictions anymore,” said John Brady, Owner of Brady’s Pub. “It’s just a timeframe that really shouldn’t even be there.”

For catered events, the Governor is pushing the deadline from midnight to 1 a.m. starting Monday. 

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