(WIVB) — On Wednesday afternoon, Governor Cuomo announced starting April 5 the 11 p.m. curfew currently in place for casinos, movie theaters, bowling alleys, billiard halls, gyms, and fitness centers will be lifted.
“Well I see it as a step in the right direction. Infection rates are down, hospitalization rates are down, and vaccinations are up,” North Park Theatre program director Ray Barker said.
Barker says removing the curfew gets them one step closer towards the possibility of having late night movie premieres again.
“Our hope is to be open towards the end of May for a Quite Place II, which you know was filmed in Buffalo,” he said. “So that curfew being lifted will allow us to to have a late show. Usually we have a late show at 9:30 or 10 so that’s good news.”
The 11 p.m. curfew for bars and restaurants, and the 12 a.m. for catered events, will remain in effect for the time being. Cuomo says the state is evaluating both now and will have an announcement on them in April.
“We were really hopeful that the governor would’ve considered the situation here and include the restaurants with the other businesses. It’s really hard for our industry to keep getting singled out with these restrictions,” said Melissa Fleischut, who’s the president of the New York Restaurant Association.
Fleischut says keeping any type of curfew in effect will continue hurting businesses.
“Those extra hours depending on what type of business you have could really make a big difference in their ability to serve their guests and so additional sales,” she said.
As of this Monday, March 22, the final five yellow zone clusters will be lifted downstate, he said during his call.
“Behavior matters, community behavior matters,” Cuomo said right before he announced Western New York has a 1.99% positivity rate.
“Western New York was at the top of the scale for a long time as people remember,” he added.
Cuomo also says the state administered its seven millionth vaccine shot on Wednesday.
Sixteen new pop-up vaccination sites will open up this week, including one in Buffalo. Cuomo says the new sites should do 5,200 shots.
Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.