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Gov. Cuomo extends closing time for restaurants and bars until 11 p.m. starting Sunday

Dozens of restaurants in WNY have been battling the state to allow them to stay open longer.

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that beginning February 14, restaurants and bars can stay open until 11 p.m.

Previously, restaurants and bars were forced to close at 10 p.m.  

"Our decisions are based on science and data and we adjust as the virus adjusts. The infection rate and hospitalizations have continued to significantly decline," Governor Cuomo said. "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 governor's announcement does not mention the ongoing lawsuit involving more than 90 WNY restaurants aiming to throw out the curfew altogether.

Earlier this month, a judge issued a temporary restraining order that lifted the curfew for those restaurants. On Wednesday, another judge lifted that order, which reinstated the curfew. Arguments in that case are scheduled for Tuesday.

The state has had a 35-day decline in the seven-day average COVID positive rate. As of February 12, the seven-day average is 4.04%, the lowest it has been since November 30. 

The news about the restaurants comes on a day where there are growing calls among Democrats in Albany against Cuomo's emergency powers that are set to expire at the end of April.

A group of 14 State Senate Democrats on Friday called for those powers to be removed, as did Western New York Democratic assemblywoman Monica Wallace, joining her colleague Pat Burke, who was the only local Democrat who would make that call in our story last week.

Local assemblymen Bill Conrad and Jon Rivera say the powers shouldn't be extended beyond the end of April, and Senator Sean Ryan says he's "discussing" that with fellow Democratic senators.

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