Dave & Buster’s sues Gov. Cuomo over COVID restrictions

NY News

HOLLYWOOD, CA – AUGUST 21: A general view of atmosphere at Dave & Buster’s Hollywood & Highland Grand Opening on August 21, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images for Dave & Buster’s)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — National restaurant and video arcade chain Dave & Buster’s has sued Andrew Cuomo in his official capacity as Governor of New York.

According to the lawsuit, filed February 3, keeping specific facilities or industries—like arcades—closed is arbitrary and unconstitutional because others—like casinos, bowling alleys, movie theaters, gyms, and video lottery gaming—are open.

In the complaint, Cuomo is accused of violating the Free Speech Clause of the First Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The suit says Cuomo “has never publicly explained how arcades are meaningfully different from casinos, video lottery gaming facilities, bowling alleys, movie theaters, film houses, museums, aquariums, art galleries, gyms, and fitness centers in the context of COVID-19.”

Dave & Buster’s, locally found at Crossgates Mall, says they had 1,200 employees at 11 locations statewide. They say that, because of shutdowns, all but 40 of them have been furloughed. The suit alleges that closures without cause are now threatening their market share and long-term viability.

The lawsuit says that many operating venues pose the same or a greater risk for COVID transmission, even as Dave & Buster’s names itself as a leader in COVID safety since the outbreak began. They say they implemented strategies like daily temperature checks, spacious layouts, mask requirements, and frequent cleanings in the early days of the pandemic.

All Dave & Buster’s stores in the state—including two, in Albany and Syracuse, in New York’s Northern District, where the suit was filed—have been closed for nearly 11 months. Meanwhile, provided they followed COVID guidance from the Department of Health, museums, aquariums, and art galleries could open in June. Bowling alleys and gyms reopened with restrictions in August. Casinos reopened in September, and movies in October.

Take a look at the filing below:

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