Business Owners Blast Gov. Cuomo for Opening Up NFL Stadium, Keeping Restaurants Closed


New York restaurant owners are criticizing Gov. Andrew Cuomo for allowing thousands of Buffalo Bills fans to attend the NFL team’s playoff game while several businesses remain closed.

Don Swartz, the owner of Veneto Gourmet Pizza and Pasta in Rochester, New York, told “Fox & Friends” that he just wants to be given the equal chance to invite people to dine at his restaurant.

“I want to have the same opportunity to have people come in the restaurant and dine. It’s a personal choice,” he said.

“If people feel comfortable about going to the Bills game in a safe manner, and we’re following the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines that Rochester City, the County of Monroe, also set up some guidelines for us to follow.

“I want people to be able to make the same choice to come in to support us, just as they’re going to go root on the Buffalo Bills.”

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Ralph Galluzzi, who owns Raphael’s in Hamburg, said that the shutdown has heavily impacted his business, leaving him with only one employee and restricting his “open” hours to only three days a week.

“I’m six minutes from the stadium, so anybody that wanted to stop before or after, I lose that,” he said.

Galluzzi’s restaurant is located just minutes from the Bills stadium in Orchard Park, which has been labeled an “orange zone” by Cuomo — an area that has at least a 4 percent COVID-19 positivity rate, located in a region that has reached 85 percent hospital capacity.

Despite the area’s seemingly concerning amount of reported cases, the governor opted to allow fans back into the Bills stadium while keeping indoor dining restaurants around Orchard Park closed.

“I feel that everything that is going on right now in the restaurant industry is totally unfair,” Galluzzi continued.

“People do not go out to dinner when they’re sick, they stay home, but they will go to Walmart or the drugstore to get their medication when they need it when they’re sick. So are they spreading this virus at restaurants, or are they spreading it at Walmart?”

Cuomo announced on Wednesday that 6,700 Bills fans will be able to attend the home playoff game in January, and he will be one of them.

“We’re all feeling the excitement,” he said in his daily COVID-19 briefing, according to CBS News.

“We’ve all wanted the Buffalo Bills to be good, it’s been a long time, and that team has a charisma and personality that is infectious.”

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The Democratic governor said this will be the first-in-the-nation pilot program for resuming live events by requiring all attendees to test negative for COVID-19 before being allowed into the stadium.

There will be drive-thru testing in the stadium’s parking lots before the game, and fans will have to wear masks and maintain social distancing during the game. Tailgating prior to the event is banned.

Over 40 New York restaurants have filed a lawsuit against Cuomo and New York state to allow customers to return to indoor dining, WKBW-TV reported.

Restaurant owner Greg Duell pointed to the state’s numbers that show restaurants and bars only account for 1.4 percent of the spread of COVID-19 in New York.

“The governor’s guidelines and the restrictions that he had in place, whether it’s masking and distancing and plexiglass, it was working,” Duell said.

“We’re not doing this to take a victory lap on state government. We are doing this purely to advocate for our businesses and our staffs.”

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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