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Fireworks companies are suing New York State over COVID-19 cancellations

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Posted at 1:55 PM, Aug 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-03 13:57:30-04

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WKBW) — The owners of four fireworks display companies have filed a federal lawsuit against Governor Andrew Cuomo, the Empire State Development Corporation, Attorney General Letitia James and the New York State Health Commissioner over COVID-19 related restrictions. The companies claim these restrictions effectively canceled fireworks displays across the summer.

Santore’s World Famous Fireworks, American Fireworks Display, Young Explosives Corporation and Skylighters of New York, based out of Orchard Park, collectively filed the lawsuit.

The complaint states that the companies collectively lost hundreds of thousands of dollars after New York State restrictions forced the cancellation of private and public fireworks displays scheduled for Fourth of July celebrations as well as displays for weddings, graduations and other events.

Specifically, the state's 50 person cap on outdoor gatherings is blamed for the forced cancellations and postponements of hundreds of fireworks displays. The suit also calls into question the state making exceptions for outdoor graduations, the opening of beaches and protests after the death of George Floyd, as those events attracted more than 50 people.

Matt Shaw, the owner of WNY based Skylighters, states that the fireworks industry has further hampered by, "confused messaging from local and state agencies."

The suit is seeking an order declaring that the restrictions applied by the state are unconstitutional and a temporary order blocking the state from enforcing limits on outdoor social gatherings of 50 people or more.