Local bars asking state to stay open past curfew for Bills playoff game

Food and Drink

NORTH GREECE, N.Y. (WROC) — Ask Robbie Tennant if anyone will be stopping into her bar Robbie’s in the North Greece/Hilton area this weekend for the Buffalo Bills playoff game, and she will tell you.

“No. None of them are coming in. I mean, we’ll be a ghost town,” she says.

The Bills are taking on the Baltimore Ravens at 8:15 p.m. Saturday. The issue for bars in the yellow zone is that they must close at 10 p.m., with last call at 9:30 p.m. Additionally, yellow zone rules for indoor dining requires 50% capacity and six feet between tables.

Tennant says no one is going to show up, and then have to leave halfway through the game. 

“This year, we would be making so much money. And now we’re going to be like, ‘Don’t bother. No bartender on, no waitress,'” she says.

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Tennant says she knows exactly where her usual customers will be going, and health experts say it’s the main spreader of COVID-19. 

“They’re going to house parties. I know this because I’ve been invited to them all,” Tennant says.

Tennant and others are asking the state to let them stay open until at least midnight, giving fans the chance to watch the whole game in a safe place.  

“The 10 o’clock curfew is tough enough, let alone on a Bills night,” says Scott Thyroff owner of the Pittsford Pub.

He says this entire process since the shutdown has been a daily guessing game. 

“We could find out Saturday afternoon that we can stay open until the end of the Bills game,” says Thyroff.

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For Bills fans, this playoff game is historic. Not to be gathering in a bar with fellow fans, they say, takes away from the moment.

“I wish we had the opportunity to celebrate,” says Laura Dewey who would usually be at the Winfield Grill with her husband.

“We’d all love to be together, obviously the Bills Mafia is a huge family,” says Tony Nigrelli.

Tennant says if allowed to stay open for the Bills game, it could present an opportunity to show the state that bars can serve late responsibly. Either way, she says something has to give and give soon. 

“He [Gov. Cuomo] has to lift these restrictions, or else we’re all going to go under,” Tennant said.

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