ALBANY, NY – New York lawmakers have introduced a bill that would require restaurants located at rest areas on the state highway system to operate seven days a week, a move apparently aimed at interfering with the fast-food chain’s policies Chick-fil-A to remain closed on Sundays.
The bill, introduced last week, is another salvo in a years-long political battle involving the company, whose late founder Truett Cathy infused his business practices with his conservative Christian values.
Loved by many for its chicken sandwiches, but hated by others due to its founder’s opposition to same-sex marriage, Chick-fil-A has always kept its locations closed on Sundays so employees can spend time with their families and “worship if they wish”. » according to the company’s website.
While the bill, if passed, would apply to all restaurants, Chick-fil-A is mentioned by name in some written legislative documents explaining the rationale for the proposed law.
Tony Simone, a state Assembly member and Democrat who introduced the bill, said it aims to provide travelers to New York with a variety of food options, including healthy foods, at food stops. rest, rather than an effort to oust Chick-fil-A.
“Look, if you want to eat fried chicken while traveling during the holidays, then Chick-fil-A should be open on Sundays,” Simone said.
The bill would not immediately apply to currently operating restaurants — meaning the impact on existing Chick-fil-A locations would be limited — but would affect all future food concession contracts at owned transportation facilities to the State and the New York Port Authority. and New Jersey. This would exclude temporary concessions, such as farmers’ markets.
Email and phone messages left for Chick-fil-A spokespeople were not immediately returned.
Chick-fil-A was the subject of boycotts in 2012 due to its significant financial support of groups opposed to the legalization of same-sex marriage. Over the years, the chain, which operates more than 3,000 restaurants, reduced this financial support before ending it in 2019.
In the past, airports in Buffalo and San Antonio, Texas, have blocked Chick-fil-A from opening its locations. Some college campuses have also banned the channel.
In the meantime, some conservative lawmakers have rallied behind the company. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, signed a bill in 2019 to defend Chick-fil-A and religious freedom.
The introduction of New York’s bill was prompted by an ongoing redevelopment project across the New York State Thruway Authority’s 27 service areas. Through this project, 23 restaurant buildings in the service area will be rebuilt, with significant renovations to the remaining four.
Once the redevelopment project is complete, Chick-fil-A will operate in 10 service areas on the Thruway, all of which have at least one other dining option and a convenience store open seven days a week.
Retail company Applegreen recently entered into a 33-year contract with the state’s Thruway Authority and is leasing space to restaurants under the agreement, according to Authority spokeswoman Jennifer Givner. Chick-fil-A will be able to operate during its normal hours under this contract.
Maysoon Khan is a corps member for the Associated Press/Report for America Statehouse News Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit national service program that places journalists in local newsrooms to report on under-reported issues.
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