Judge temporarily lifts 10 p.m. curfew for more than 90 bars, restaurants that sued New York state

Updated: February 05, 2021 05:21 PM
Created: February 05, 2021 12:46 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — More than 90 bars and restaurants that filed a lawsuit against New York state over a 10 p.m. curfew will be able to stay open later, for the time being.

A judge issued a temporary restraining order Friday morning, lifting the curfew for establishments that were part of the lawsuit, effectively immediately. Veneto Wood Fired Pizza and Pasta in Gates and Robbie’s Bar and Grill in Greece are included in the lawsuit. Rizzis Restaurant says it can stay open past 10 p.m.

"We've gotten a lot of positive response, and we've gotten some negative response and I respect that and I respect peoples' opinion," Don Swartz, owner of Veneto's, said. "Nobody's trying to do anything unsafe, we don't want our customers sick, we don't want our staff to get sick, we want to do the right things."

During his COVID-19 briefing Friday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state would not apply a universal lift of the curfew before Super Bowl Sunday. 

“The curfew is complicated,” Cuomo said. “In this state, we don’t have different licenses for restaurants and bars. For many states, bars are separate from restaurants. If we could distinguish between the two, then we could have separate times for restaurants or bars. We cannot, so the curfew is because when people tend to stay later, and they’re just drinking, then there are more gatherings. You can’t drink and wear a mask. That’s the point of the curfew, and no, we’re not thinking of changing the curfew for Super Bowl Sunday. Maybe if the bills were in the Super Bowl it'd be a different conversation.”

The Monroe County Legislature's Majority Leader Steve Brew (R) released the following statement on the ruling:

“Today marked another victory for small business owners against Governor Cuomo's arbitrary restrictions. This morning, 94 restaurants were granted a temporary restraining order by an Erie County Judge, temporarily lifting the 10:00 p.m. closure rule for bars and restaurants in Erie County for petitioners named within the lawsuit. 

“While this is an important win for these select restaurants, it's time to allow bars and restaurants to operate past 10:00 p.m. across the State of New York and Monroe County. With declining positivity rates across the State and today's ruling, the Republican Majority of the Monroe County Legislature continues to call on Governor Cuomo to do what is right for our small businesses across the State of New York.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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