Curfew temporarily lifted for 91 restaurants, clubs, and bars which sued NYS

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Ninety-one restaurants, clubs and bars in Erie and Monroe counties, which filed a lawsuit against the state over a 10 p.m. curfew, will be able to stay open later, for the time being.

News 4 learned on Friday morning that a temporary restraining order has been issued, lifting the curfew for those which were part of the lawsuit, which names Governor Andrew Cuomo, the New York State Department of Health, and the New York State Liquor Authority as respondents.

MORE | Read the lawsuit here.

Attorney Steve Cohen issued a statement:

“We are pleased Judge Timothy Walker lifted the 10:00 PM curfew for our clients (91 clubs, restaurants and bars) in Erie County and Monroe County.

We are pleased to be working with Paul Cambria, Esq. from Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria on this case.  We have different clients who are united in interest.

STEVE COHEN

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“The 10 p.m. curfew is just one example of how the governor has exceeded his authority,” said Senator Patrick Gallivan, who is also a plaintiff in the suit. “Once again, I call on my legislature colleagues to end the governor’s unilateral control and restore our system of checks and balances in state government. The judge’s decision is great news for everyone in the restaurant industry. I urge customers to support local restaurants and businesses while continuing to exercise practical health and safety procedures, such as wearing a mask and social distancing.”

A spokesperson for New York State said officials are reviewing the judge’s decision. During a coronavirus press briefing, and just minutes after the temporary restraining order was issued, Cuomo was asked if the state would lift the 10 p.m. curfew for Sunday to coincide with the football game between the Chiefs and Buccaneers. He said that was not under consideration.

“We have one license, and it doesn’t distinguish between a bar and a restaurant,” Cuomo said. “If we could separate the two, then you could argue for different times at a restaurant than a bar. We don’t have that ability. It’s one license.

“The curfew is because when people tend to stay later, and they’re just drinking, then there’s more gatherings. You can’t drink and wear a mask.”

The New York State Restaurant Association weighed in on the court’s decision.

“Today’s court decision is a big win for some restaurants in Western New York, but once again we have an uneven playing field and not all can enjoy a later closing time. We now have another patchwork system of restrictions when you also take into account later closing times in neighboring states New Jersey and Connecticut. This all adds up to a competitive disadvantage for an industry that is barely hanging on. We’re pleading with Governor Cuomo to push back the curfew and allow indoor dining until at least midnight.”

MELISSA FLEISCHUT, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF THE NEW YORK STATE RESTAURANT ASSOCIATION

Evan Anstey is a digital content producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here.

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