By Bee Group Newspapers | on January 14, 2021Frank J. Todaro
ERIE COUNTY LEGISLATOR
The number 2021 has a nice ring to it; Happy New Year! Many obstacles were put in front of us in 2020, but we pushed through and gave it our all. The New Year also marks one year since I was sworn in as an Erie County legislator. Immediately after swearing in, I hit the ground running to help serve the people of Erie County. It has been such an honor and privilege to represent District 8. I am taking on 2021 with that same momentum and will continue to be a champion and advocate for small businesses, restaurants and the hard working taxpayers in the best county in Western New York. Together we will make this a year to remember!
It is no secret that I am in support for the full reopening of restaurants here in Erie County. I recently sent a resolution asking the state to lift the harsh restrictions on bars and restaurants who are struggling to stay afloat from the lack of business and revenue. Most restaurants have seen their businesses reduced by executive order since March of 2020, just shy of a full year. These executive orders from Gov. Andrew Cuomo have forced some restaurants and bars to close their doors completely, heavily restricted their hours of operation, limited their capacity, restricted certain services and additionally, were the subject of unwarranted scrutiny from the Health Department. This is completely unacceptable. Given the recently reported statistics from the Office of the Governor, the data shows that restaurants account for 1.43% of the spread of COVID-19. Households account for 73.84% of the COVID-19 spread, according to the data. Despite this low reported rate of infection coming from restaurants and bars, Cuomo has not backed down from the harsh restrictions for these businesses to operate here in Erie County. In an attempt to save their livelihood, nearly 40 owners of bars and restaurants in Erie County are challenging the executive orders as unconstitutional. I fully support the actions of all the bars and restaurants in Erie County who are challenging Cuomo’s orders. I urge the New York State Legislature to take action to protect from retaliation the businesses that are actively engaged in lawsuits against the state. I will not stop advocating and doing whatever I possibly can to be a voice for these bars and restaurants that are fighting to keep their doors open. I believe there is a light at the end of this long, dark tunnel and I will not stop until we get there, together.