Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s lifting of Orange and Yellow restrictions Wednesday changes the dynamics of the COVID-19 pandemic, with lawyers filing even more lawsuits to get rid of even more restrictions.
The governor has extraordinary powers under laws passed by the state legislature and he has used them to change lives of every New Yorker. Notice items like 10 p.m. restaurant closings, empty stands at what athletic events occur, fewer games and most citizens looking shaggy because barber shops and salons are closed.
HoganWillig litigation chair Steven Cohen has won a series of victories against Cuomo restrictions. Cohen said judges are believing his facts and not the governor’s facts on restaurant ventilation.
"The facts are undisputed. They’ve been undisputed by the state," Cohen said. "We presented affidavits from engineers who performed testing on air flow and the governor’s own statistics that 74% of the spread is happening by people who are stuck at home, forced to eat with other people at home, forced to gather at home because they have no other place to go."
Cohen said restaurants have much better air flow to flush out the air. Now he has other lawsuits to fight against the 10 p.m. closings and restrictions on high school sports. The attorney said there are procedural maneuverings underway in the cases, but they continue.
"There has to be a rational basis for him to interfere with people’s constitutional rights," he said, "and while there is still an economy to reopen, we have to reopen it now. If the governor had his way, businesses, thousands more, would be closing their doors forever and that we could never recover from."
The Buffalo Niagara Partnership is praising the lifting of restrictions because the pandemic has been hard on the overall economy in this region and very hard on the hospitality industry. Easing restrictions will give bars and restaurants a chance to keep going.
Buffalo Niagara Partnership Vice President Grant Loomis said the restrictions being lifted show New Yorkers can work together.
"That’s again why the news today was encouraging," Loomis said. "It shows that New Yorkers are taking the precautions seriously, that they are following guidelines and public health protocols and when we do that, we are able to see a relaxation, if you will, in the restrictions around commerce and business."
The Partnership also reminded employers that they still must follow all industry specific re-opening guidelines, as has been the case for the last several months. Those guidelines can be found here.