HAMBURG, N.Y. (WKBW) — The state's last remaining restrictions on restaurant operations have expired.
This marks the end of a near 15-month effort to get back to normal business. Restaurants were shut down last march. Indoor dining did not return until June of 2020, with limited capacity and social distancing. Restaurants had to close at 10pm, then 11pm, then midnight.
As of May 31st, that curfew for indoor dining, is no longer in place It’s a big relief for some restaurants.
“So not having that extra time was really devastating to them,” Said Jimmy Butera, the owner of Butera's in Hamburg.
Butera says restaurant owners are facing other problems, like finding staff.
“The extra $300 a week is something that is holding people back,” said Butera about the unemployment benefits being offered. “But, another thing is with the uncertainty that the restaurant industry went through in the last 14 months, being open, not being open, getting their hours cut.”
With COVID-19 cases down and vaccination numbers up, Governor Andrew Cuomo said he hopes restaurant restrictions won't be needed again.
He wrote in a statement:
"If we want to stay on our current trajectory, we need to remain vigilant across the board - especially when it comes to indoor activities."