Stock photo: Adobe

The State Legislature today pushed back against Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive authority today, passing resolutions repealing three executive orders issued under his COVID-19 emergency powers.

One order repealed today lifts a ban on serving alcoholic drinks without food.

This is good news for bars and restaurants, which are still struggling to survive, said Robert Gerety of the Suffolk County Restaurants and Taverns Association.

“It’s going to help the local pubs that don’t have food. It will bring them back to life,” Gerety said. “It’s a great help to all of us in the industry,” he said. People want to stop for an after-work drink don’t necessarily want to have a meal, Gerety said.

Restaurants and bars have borne an unfair burden throughout the COVID crisis, Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio said. They were among the first businesses shut down and they are still operating under policies and restrictions that create hardships, she said. She cited the expanded unemployment program that continues to make it hard to get restaurant staff back to work.

Cuomo announced today the state will lift the 12 a.m. curfew on outdoor food and beverage service beginning May 17 and on indoor food and beverage service beginning May 31. The curfew for all catered events will be lifted May 31 as well, Cuomo said.

State Sen. Anthony Palumbo called the curfews “arbitrary” and said they “continue to hinder the recovery of Long Island’s struggling restaurant and hospitality industries.”

“Our restaurants and hospitality industry should not have to endure these restrictions for another day, let alone another month,” Palumbo said.

He called on Democrats in the legislature to join the Republican conference to repeal the restaurant curfews immediately.

The two other resolutions passed in both chambers today repealed executive orders unrelated to the food, beverage and hospitality industries.

One repealed a waiver allowing volunteers working on the state’s pandemic response to avoid conflict of interest disclosure rules.

The other repealed outdated restrictions on vaccine distribution that no longer apply since shots are available to everyone 16 and older.

Though the emergency powers legislation adopted last year give the legislature the ability to overturn the governor’s executive orders by the vote of a simple majority, this is the first time the legislature has exercised that power.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.