Midnight restaurant curfew welcomed, but many want to abolish it altogether
While New York City residents are welcoming the state’s extension of its curfew for bars and restaurants by one hour to midnight, starting Monday, many people, especially representatives of the hospitality industry and political opponents of the city’s and state’s Democratic administrations, are saying the curfew should be abolished altogether.
Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, representing the city’s bars and restaurants, said, “The extra hour is good news for restaurants, bars and customers, but we still need a roadmap for when the curfew will be lifted like it has for other industries.
“The state also needs to lift the rule that prohibits customers from being seated to eat at a bar in New York City, and revisit removing the requirement that a “food item” be served with drinks,” he said.
New York Eater quoted a “South Brooklyn bar owner” who said, anonymously, “It’s great news. No curfew would obviously be better, but we do have to watch out for ‘Cinderella Covid’ which only comes out at midnight.”
The Brooklyn bar owner also had a word of caution: . “The first thing that came to mind when I heard the news is how are my people gonna get home without 24-hour subway service coming back?”
On Twitter, Republican mayoral hopeful and Guardian Angels leader Curtis Sliwa, who grew up in Brooklyn, sarcastically slammed the curfews in general. “Wow! Curfew will be moved to midnight on April 19! I haven’t been this excited since high school, when my parents moved my curfew to midnight! Curfews are great for high schoolers, but not for NYC’s struggling bars and restaurants.”
Epidemiologist Ellie Murray, quoted by Gothamist, doubted the rationale for curfews. She previously told NPR, “I’ve spoken with a lot of other epidemiologists and public health specialists, and we’re not really sure at all where the justification in terms of the science for these curfews is.”
In addition to liberalizing curfew times for bars and restaurants, Cuomo also announced during a telephone briefing Wednesday that auto and horse racing events will be able to accommodate spectators at 20 percent capacity starting April 22. Spectators will be required to wear a mask, social distance and provide proof of a recent negative test or completed vaccinations.
“But at the same time, we caution New Yorkers: Don’t get cocky. The disease is still very much with us,” Cuomo said.
The New York Racing Association said it was gearing up to host fans at its thoroughbred tracks at Belmont Park this spring and Saratoga Race Course this summer.
Statewide hospitalizations for the virus have fallen dramatically from a post-holiday peak of more than 9,000 people in January but remain above 4,000. About a quarter of New York residents have been fully vaccinated, according to state data.
Weddings and other catered events will be allowed to run until 1 a.m. instead of midnight as of Monday, the governor said.
Restaurants had pleaded for an end to the 11 p.m. curfew, saying that pandemic restrictions were hurting their business.
A similar curfew was lifted earlier this month for casinos, movie theaters, bowling alleys, billiard halls and fitness centers.
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