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11 p.m. curfew for bars and restaurants is back on — again

Mike Desmond

State Republican lawmakers are blasting Gov. Andrew Cuomo for extending the 11 p.m. curfew for bars and restaurants until May 6, and Senate Democrats for misrepresenting the repeal of Cuomo's executive powers in March.

In an executive order Thursday, Cuomo also extended the mandate that patrons purchase a "substantial" amount of food with alcohol.

Senate GOP Leader Rob Ortt of North Tonawanda joined local Sens. George Borrello, Patrick Gallivan and Ed Rath, saying passage of measures to curb the governor's emergency powers did "nothing."

"What happens at 11:02 p.m. that wasn’t happening at 10:58 p.m. in a bar or restaurant? It’s been clear for months the governor isn’t following medical science — he’s following political science,” said Ortt.

“Clearly, efforts to 'repeal the governor’s emergency powers have failed. Extending the so-called restaurant curfew and requiring patrons to continue to purchase food with alcohol will do little to control the pandemic. It will, however, continue to hurt bars and restaurants who are struggling to recover from the economic impact made worse by such onerous mandates,” said Gallivan.

Rath said Republicans will continue to advocate "for a full repeal of the governor’s emergency powers." Borrello said that is theonly way to loosen Cuomo's "destructive iron grip" on the state.

When agreement on a repeal bill was announced in March, Cuomo said he would keep some of his emergency powers, even after they were originally set to expire on April 30. He said the authority will continue until the federal government determines the pandemic emergency has ended.

Bars and restaurants have been on an economic roller coaster ride throughout the pandemic, due to various health and safety restrictions. In just the last couple months, the 11 p.m. curfew has been put in place, lifted, put in place again, lifted again and now put in place again.

WBFO Albany Correspondent Karen Dewitt contributed to this story.

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