NewsLocal News


Restaurants suing the state over 10 p.m. closure rule

Posted at 11:23 PM, Jan 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-23 09:41:32-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — More than 100 bars and restaurants in Erie County are suing New York State. The lawsuit is asking a judge to allow the restaurants in the suit to stay open past 10 p.m.

Gabriel's Gate manager Kelly Hall said she had to cut some employees shifts due to the scaled back hours. The restaurant is taking part in the lawsuit.

“It affects us so much," she said. "We’re losing four hours on the weekends of business, and anywhere from two, two-and-a-half, on the weeknights, it affects us a lot. We’re not making as much money as we could be making, we’re not able to have as many people come in as we normally would. It’s a big problem.”

The petition was filed Friday evening. Law firms HoganWillig and Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria are representing the restaurants.

“There’s been no evidence presented that at 10 o’clock the coronavirus becomes more deadly or more contagious,” said HoganWillig attorney Steve Cohen.

In November, Governor Andrew Cuomo instituted the 10 p.m. closure for all bars and restaurants with a liquor license, as cases were rising. Restaurants can continue with curbside pickup after 10 p.m.

Rusty Nickel Brewing Company said it loses up to one hour of business each weekday and up to two hours on weekend nights.

“The after 10 o’clock time frame we’re looking at anywhere between ten and 15, possibly as much as 17, percent of our business on any given day,” Havens said.

President and owner-operator Jason Havens said that doesn't include events like the upcoming Buffalo Bills game. He said success usually means more sales, but not now.

“If it was a win, the celebratory sales would be tremendous, and you know we’re missing out on that each and every weekend since this 10 o’clock time frame has been instituted,” he said.

Havens had to tell customers to leave during halftime of last weekend's game, and worries 10 p.m. could be cutting it close to the end of this week's game.

“We're still keeping all the rules in place, , four people to a table, social distancing, it’s just a matter of what hour they’re able to come in and enjoy themselves and celebrate,” Hall said.