ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WIVB) – An appellate judge on Wednesday put on hold an order which allowed more than 90 Western New York restaurants to stay open past the state-mandated 10 p.m. curfew. The decision means those restaurants must once again close their doors by 10 p.m.
Last Friday, Acting State Supreme Court Justice Timothy J. Walker issued a temporary restraining order, which allowed the restaurants, which had sued Governor Andrew Cuomo and two state agencies, to stay open past the curfew, which the state has in place as a restriction designed to slow the spread of COVID-19. Appellate Division Justice Patrick NeMoyer, however has stayed the order, in effect freezing it. A hearing on the matter is expected to take place virtually in front of NeMoyer next Tuesday.
“He issued it. He signed it. And we’re stuck with it until next Tuesday,” said Corey Hogan, an attorney for the restaurants.
The move comes just before Valentine’s Day weekend. The Quarter, an Allentown restaurant, is one of the restaurants affected. Owner Brandon Carr spent 90 minutes Wednesday starting an effort to call 122 reservation holders who he says will be impacted by this decision.
“I have reservations already booked up for the entire weekend,” Carr said. “We were taking later reservations, because it’s a holiday weekend, up until midnight. We have purchased so much specialty food that we were going to be using for these Valentine’s Day dinners. I’m going to have to call and cancel, and try to move around as many as possible to see if we can fit them into certain windows.”
Carr said he had to temporarily let go four employees as well.
“To be honest, I’m on the verge right now of saying, ‘Screw this. I’m going to stay open and honor my reservations,’” he added.
On Monday, Jack Sterne, a spokesperson for Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration, hinted that the state would challenge Judge Walker’s temporary restraining order.
“We are still in the middle of a public health crisis, and the 10 p.m. closure rule clearly reduces the risk to New Yorkers,” Sterne said.
Sterne had no comment on Judge NeMoyer’s stay order Wednesday.
Chris Horvatits is an award-winning reporter and anchor who started working at WIVB in 2017. A Lancaster native, he came to Buffalo after working at stations in Rochester and Watertown. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.