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Curfew lifted for many New York businesses, but not restaurants and bars

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Dan Taylor-Watt
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Some of the last businesses able to reopen last year in New York are now some of the first to no longer have an 11 p.m. curfew. In the latest round of COVID-19 restriction rollbacks, Governor Andrew Cuomo this week announced that he was lifting that curfew for many New York businesses.

“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,” Cuomo said. He also said indoor fitness classes can resume on March 22 at 33% capacity.

However, despite recent class-action lawsuits by restaurants and bars across the state claiming unfair COVID-19 restrictions have been placed on them, they have not been cleared to stay open past 11 p.m.

On Thursday, Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon condemned the remaining curfew on restaurants and bars saying it’s becoming impossible to enforce, especially during March Madness.

“It’s not practical for us to be out dragging people out of establishments at 11:00 in the first half of the SU game,” he said, referring to Syracuse University's first round game in the men's NCAA basketball tournament, which is scheduled for 9:40 p.m. Friday.

Dennis Coleman of Coleman’s Irish Pub in Syracuse said he doesn’t understand why the restrictions are so heavy on businesses like his family’s.

“As long as we, you know, follow all the guidelines it shouldn't really matter what time of the day it is,” he said.

Cuomo also announced on Thursday that as soon as April 1, concert and sports venues can open with restrictions. Outdoor venues with a capacity above 2,500 can operate at 20% capacity and indoor sports venues with a capacity of at least 1,500 can open at 10% capacity, all requiring attendants to show a negative test or proof of full vaccination.