IRONDEQUOIT, N.Y. (WROC) — East Ridge Billiards has been here for generations. The last 60 years, according to co-owner Chris Braiman.
The billiard hall is closed right now, and Braiman fears what will happen financially if he cannot reopen soon.
“We need to be open,” said Braiman. “We need to be open now. The clock is ticking.”
“We don’t have endless amounts of money,” continued Braiman. “When we lose money, we lose it by the thousands. We don’t lose it by the hundreds. And things get behind very quickly.”
East Ridge Billiards closed, as many businesses did, in March, as the state aimed to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The venue briefly reopened, but after being told by officials to stop hosting billiards, is closed again right now, according to Braiman.
“It’s probably going to take me a year, year and a half at this point, just to make up the money we owe,” added Braiman.
News 8 reached out to Governor Cuomo’s office asking where the state stands on billiards halls staying closed, and received this statement from a spokesperson:
“The measures the Governor has taken were intended to – and did – curb the rise of infection across the State. They also allowed us to avoid subsequent spikes of infection. Reports show that infections are rising in more than 35 states, and that officials in those states have been forced to reclose businesses and other parts of the economy that were opened too early. Every public opinion survey has shown an overwhelming majority of New Yorkers support our re-opening approach. We understand that some people aren’t happy – but better unhappy than sick or worse.”
— Jason Conwall, spokesperson for Governor Andrew Cuomo
Braiman told News 8 he believes can safely reopen at limited capacity following safety guidelines, including taping off tables to enforce distancing.
“I know we can do everything we can to be safe here,” said Braiman.
Bob Duffy, the President of the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, told News 8 he’d received “countless” complaints about billiards halls being able to reopen. While Duffy serves in an advisory role with regard to reopening, Duffy said to keep paying attention to the latest decisions from Cuomo’s office.
“Each week there are new decisions coming out. So hopefully we’ll hear something soon, again, whether it’s going to be approved in the short term or not,” said Duffy.