Statement from Senator Borrello on Repeal of Pandemic-Related Restaurant & Bar Restrictions

ALBANY – Senator George Borrello issued the following statement in response to the State Senate’s action today to repeal the Executive Order requiring restaurants and bars to serve food with alcohol, as well as the Governor’s announcement that remaining curfews on these businesses will end in May.

“Today, New York State’s restaurants, bars and hospitality businesses can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that they will no longer need to abide by the senseless ‘food with alcohol’ requirement imposed by the Governor in July and that curfews will be lifted in May. It was a long and hard-fought effort to get to this point.

“However, for many small businesses, these moves come too late. Months of closure, followed by capacity-limited re-openings and restrictive mandates made continued operation impossible. Those that have managed to keep their doors open have taken on loans, reduced their staffs and made other sacrifices that should not have  been necessary.

“I’ve been a relentless and strong voice for these businesses from day one of this pandemic, because as a restaurant owner myself, I realized the unbearable and unnecessary pain these directives were causing. While we welcome an end to the ludicrous food with alcohol requirement, the fact that this rule lived on, even after the Legislature’s so-called ‘repeal’ of the Governor’s emergency authority on March 5, is only further confirmation that step was pure political theater.

“The Governor’s repeal of the curfew, while welcome, is another pathetic attempt to keep himself in office after a multitude of failures and unethical behavior. He should no longer have the authority to dictate mandates and I will keep pressing for the Senate Majority to remove his powers, once and for all.

“We are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel and that should give us all great optimism. To my friends and peers in the restaurant and hospitality industry, you’ve endured hardships in the last year that you never imagined. I applaud the grit and tenacity that got you this far and will continue to be your strongest advocate in Albany.”