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Local restaurants to file legal action against state over COVID zone restrictions

They're hoping to be allowed to reopen and operate under pre-micro cluster zone restrictions until a hearing takes place.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A group of local restaurants is expected to file legal action against New York State on Thursday over restrictions put in place under Gov. Andrew Cuomo's micro-cluster zone strategy. 

The lawsuit will be filed by attorneys at HoganWillig in Buffalo, where they will be asking for a temporary restraining order to reopen restaurants and allow them to operate at pre-yellow, orange, or red zone restrictions until a hearing takes place. 

Attorneys in the case pointed to recent data released by Governor Cuomo, showing restaurants only contributing to 1.43% of new cases statewide between September and November. 

After this data was released, Governor Cuomo allowed gyms and salons to reopen in orange zone areas with capacity limits, but no restriction changes were made for restaurants. 

Credit: NYSDOH

Much of Erie County is under orange zone restrictions, which means indoor dining is prohibited and restaurants must rely on takeout, delivery, or outdoor dining to do business.

"What basis does the government have to select a particular type of industry now that's doing no harm, and shutting them down?" asked Buffalo-based attorney Corey Hogan, who is leading this lawsuit. 

"We want indoor dining, we will follow the masking, we will follow the social distancing, we will do everything that we've been asked to do, but please let us open before you bankrupt us all," Hogan said. 

2 On Your Side reached out to the New York State Department of Health Wednesday evening for a response, but we have yet to receive one.