Friend Calls Governor’s Persistent Restaurant and Bar Curfew Nonsensical

Assemblyman Christopher S. Friend (R,C,I-Big Flats) is disappointed by the governor’s announcement that he plans to keep in place the 11 p.m. curfew for restaurants and bars, along with the food requirement with alcoholic drink purchases. These mandates have been incredibly harmful and are unfounded in any credible science or statistics.

“Restaurant and bar owners and their staff have been incredibly responsible and adaptable in ensuring their customers’ safety and health. The governor’s continued refusal to lift the 11 p.m. curfew is unreasonable and unfair to these struggling businesses,” said Friend, ranking Minority member of the Committee on Economic Development. “Time and time again, there is no evidential justification given by the state for such onerous mandates on these food and drink establishments. I call on the governor to lift the mandates now.”

Friend also recently introduced a joint resolution with other Minority colleagues to overturn the governor’s mandates on dining and drinking establishments. It was only in December 2020 that the state’s own contact tracing data showed that only 1.43 percent of COVID-19 cases resulted from exposure at a restaurant or a bar. Even a NYS Supreme Court judge overturned the mandate for about 100 restaurants in Erie County.

Friend says the pandemic response has been devastating to the industry. About 1 in 6 restaurants in the state have closed as a result of the restrictions and lockdown, according to the NYS Restaurant Association. Even the comptroller noted significant losses and closures in New York City, with one-third of restaurants closing and nearly 160,000 industry jobs lost.