The coronavirus curfew on restaurants and bars across New York would be rolled back from 10 p.m. to midnight under a bill introduced Tuesday by a Long Island pol to help struggling eateries ahead of the Super Bowl.
State Assemblyman Jarett Gandolfo (R-Sayville) authored the proposed legislation that seeks a repeal of the statewide curfew Gov. Andrew Cuomo imposed in November amid a resurgence of the virus.
“The arbitrary 10 p.m. indoor dining curfew is slowly killing locally-owned restaurants and the food service industry as a whole,” said Gandolfo in a statement.
In addition to indoor dining — which has been banned altogether in New York City since December — the curfew covers outdoor dining in the five boroughs.
Gandolfo argued that the state’s own data indicates that restaurants are not significant sources of coronavirus cases.
“Our local restaurants have gone to great lengths to keep customers and staff safe, even the governor’s own data shows this,” said Gandolfo, noting that state contact-tracing figures tie only 1.4 percent of COVID-19 cases to restaurants and bars. “I see no reason why these establishments would be unable to maintain a safe environment beyond 10 p.m.”
Gandolfo said that approving the tweak before Sunday’s Super Bowl could particularly help boost the restaurant industry, which has been hammered by the pandemic and service restrictions — and that it might head-off large gatherings at people’s homes.
“Extending the dining curfew prior to Super Bowl Sunday would be a lifeline for the struggling industry; failure to do so will only encourage people to attend less safe in-home gatherings,” he said. “I’m disappointed that the governor has disregarded the data and ignored the pleas from small business owners, making this legislation necessary.”
A companion bill sponsored by Sen. Phil Boyle (R-Huntington) is set to be introduced in the state Senate.
Cuomo last week approved the resumption of indoor dining in the city effective Feb. 14 and on Tuesday reversed course to give local governments the authority to start vaccinating restaurant workers against the coronavirus.
But he has said that there were no immediate plans to alter the curfew, and indicated Tuesday that he has no appetite to move up the Valentine’s Day reopening.
“You know everything sounds good to me: Vaccinating everyone as quickly as possible sounds good, opening restaurants, it all sounds good,” Cuomo told 1010 WINS. “We just need more supply. Supply, supply, supply, and that’s really production by the drug companies.
“On the restaurants, I’ve talked to everyone and it’s still complicated,” he continued. “We set on Valentine’s Day because Valentine’s Day is a big day for a restaurant.”