New York restaurant owners had been hoping for some sort of Hail Mary from Gov. Andrew Cuomo that would allow them to stay open past 10 p.m. for Super Bowl Sunday, saying the one-day-only extension could be used as a sort of pilot program.
That's the sort of language Cuomo used to describe allowing the Buffalo Bills to have fans at their home playoff game last month. And with improved recent COVID numbers, some thought there might be a chance.
However, those hopes were sacked by the governor Friday.
"No, we are not thinking about changing the curfew for Super Bowl Sunday," Cuomo said, joking that "maybe if the Bills were in the Super Bowl it would be a different conversation."
But business owners aren't laughing, saying that the governor's curfew is hurting their chances of making any money on the unofficial holiday. The game is set to kick off at 6:30 p.m., but it will still be going well past the state-imposed shut down time.
"Super Bowl Sunday is one of our busiest days and nights of the year," said Aristotle Hatzigeorgiou, who owns Clinton Hall in Lower Manhattan. "It's very hard to tell people to come join your establishment on a Sunday, then have them go home at 10 o'clock, which is about halftime."
Adding some salt to the wound, nearly 100 upstate New York bars and restaurants were granted an exemption from the curfew after they sued the state — but it only applies to those businesses.
"Make it fair so statewide everybody operates under the same rules and, two, it's probably going to start a whole rash of new lawsuits from all the other establishments that can't open," said Hatzigeorgiou.
The governor's office didn't comment on the judge's decision to give the exemption, only saying that they were "reviewing the order."
The owners' opening concerns were addressed across the river in New Jersey, where Gov. Phil Murphy lifted the state's curfew, allowing restaurants to stay open later. For the first time in nearly a year, restaurants on Friday were able to stay open past 10 p.m.
Concurrently, the new measures allow 35 percent capacity for indoor dining, as opposed to the previous 25 percent. Some restaurants said that increase won't make much of a difference, perhaps adding a table or two, but it is a step in the right direction.