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Erie County restaurants suing state over curfews await court decision

Judge Tim Walker did not make a ruling on Friday afternoon, but he did say a decision would come by the end of the weekend.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Erie County restaurants that sued the state over the 11 p.m. curfew were back in court on Friday afternoon.

We didn't get a decision, but Judge Tim Walker said we would have one by the end of the weekend.

Attorneys representing the restaurants argued that the state did not give a valid reason for extending the curfew, while the state argued that indoor dining is still listed as a high-risk activity by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"We follow the rules at 3 p.m. We follow the rules at 3 a.m. It doesn't really matter who we are serving or what we are doing. We have issues of compliance that we have to deal with, and be responsible for, any time of the day or night," Melissa Fleischut, the president and CEO of the New York State Restaurant Association, told 2 On Your Side on Friday evening.

Judge Walker previously ruled in favor of the restaurant owners in February to lift the curfew, but an appellate court later reinstated it.


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday, during his COVID-19 press briefing, that the state will extend the 11 p.m. curfew for food and drinks until midnight. 

The new guidelines will go into effect Monday, and for catered events, the curfew goes from midnight to 1 a.m.

The governor also announced the state is updating its guidance for horse and auto racing. Beginning April 23, spectators will be allowed at horse races at 20 percent capacity for outdoor events.