Group of 90+ NY restaurant, bar owners win big court ruling over Cuomo’s coronavirus curfew

A Rochester, N.Y., restaurant owner appeared Monday on “Fox & Friends” to talk about a big win over the weekend against Gov. Andrew Cuomo, after having an 11 p.m. pandemic-related curfew removed for more than 90 restaurants and bars.

Donald Swartz, owner of Veneto Wood Fired Pizza and Pasta, has been locked in a legal tussle with the state as part of a group of bar and restaurant owners, and after a preliminary injunction late Saturday by state Supreme Court Justice Timothy Walker, the establishments were allowed to stay open until their normal 4 a.m. closing time.

Citing “science and data,” Cuomo announced in mid-February that in addition to limited capacity for indoor dining in New York City, an existing curfew for bars and restaurant closing times would be adjusted statewide from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.

“We will continue to follow the science and react accordingly. If we keep the infections down and vaccinations up, we will continue to stay ahead in the footrace against this invisible enemy,” the embattled governor said at the time.

As Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt explained, the western New York owners argued in their challenge that there was no scientific logic behind Cuomo’s curfew.

(Source: Fox News)

Having previously appeared on the show, Swartz shared that within 24 hours of that episode, he faced liquor license issues at a second location, which was resolved after his attorneys got involved — suggesting that was “very odd.”

Perhaps not, given the reports about Cuomo’s bullying tendencies.

“It’s obviously been a cat and mouse game — we’re almost hitting that one-year mark of the 10 days to flatten the curve. We’re almost at that one-year mark,” Swartz said of their battle with New York. “It’s been [a] cat and mouse game from the beginning and just getting information out of the state of what we can and what we can’t do.”

Explaining the various restrictions the group has fought, Swartz said he was “really hoping that everybody can get back to as close as we can to full dining, and we can get our employees, get our staff back to work.”

“That’s really what we want to do,” he added. “Let us do what we do best, get back to work, provide a service, provide jobs and provide some taxes back to the state, which has got to be much needed at this point.”

Imagine that, a business owner having to fight to pay taxes.

Steve Cohen, one of the attorneys representing the business owners, explained that at the moment, other owners cannot join the lawsuit to also have the ability to stay open until 4 a.m.

“Not yet. The ruling class of the 92 clients, restaurants and clubs that we represent, as far as adding themselves on, that would be awkward,” he said, noting that the owners he represents have already proven to the court that they are compliant with COVID-19 protocols.

Cohen also shared that they currently have 13 lawsuits out there already for various industries — “and there is room for more.”

“We found that really throughout the process of this with this governor and the way he’s behaved that little has made sense,” media relations liaison James Minner said.

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Tom Tillison

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