A number of Erie County lawmakers say bars and restaurants need to be protected from being unfairly shut down. This follows the closures of several businesses that regulators say were disregarding special rules during the pandemic.

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According to WIVB-TV, some county legislators called for a new law, which would ensure lawmakers receive notice within 48-hours when any business including a bar or restaurant is closed down.

Their message…the people who enforce the rules must also follow the rules.

“If a business owner calls us and says hey the health department came and shut us down, and I was following all the rules, I can say you know what? Let me take a look at it. Within two days, I will have a report that details everything that happened, and if there’s nothing in there that justifies your closure, I will fight for you ’til the death,” Legislator Joe Lorigo said.

Lorigo says the proposal follows recent testimony by County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein that she was unaware of why a business was shut down, and which rules it violated.

The Governor's Executive Order says that all restaurants and bars statewide must only serve alcohol to people who are ordering and eating food and that all service at bar tops must only be for seated patrons who are socially distanced by six feet or separated by physical barriers. Under current law, only establishments that serve food are permitted to serve alcoholic beverages. Citizens who see violations or are concerned can report complaints, including photos, to the State Liquor Authority at www.sla.ny.gov.