NEW HARTFORD, N.Y. - Michael Grande, owner of the popular restaurant and bar at 1 Genesee Street in New Hartford, aptly named One Genny, says he was very happy to hear Governor Cuomo's announcement on Wednesday that bars and restaurants can stay open until midnight rather than 11 p.m. starting next Monday.
Grande says it's only one extra hour but it's an important extra hour at that time of the night and he says that will translate into a lot more revenue, especially on the weekends, "I was elated. I was very happy both for our customers and for our employees."
Grande says come 11 o'clock each night of the week he has to turn customers away that want to stay and that is money lost, "We’re moving in the right direction which is important. Hopefully soon it'll be 1 a.m. and then 2 a.m. and then we’re back to business."
Senator Joe Griffo of Rome says the additional hour will help, but he believes more needs to be done at the state level to help the owners in this industry which he says have been hit especially hard during the pandemic, "The extra hour is going to be helpful but as we look at resetting our economy and keeping people safe, I think we need to get back to a point where they can function as they did and rely on the public making the decision whether they want to go or not go."
Griffo says besides removing these COVID protocols when it is safe to do so, he would also like to see the state do some other things to help, "What else can and we and should we be doing as a state? I’ll give you one illustration, their licensing. Can we look at that and give them a credit or an extension without an additional cost, things of that nature."
But for now, owners like Michael Grande are accepting each small step to getting back to normal, with a smile, "You’ve got to do what you gotta do and look for the positive signs and take them as they come. And this is one of them, so we’re excited."