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NY lawmakers call out Chick-fil-A over Sunday closures at highway rest stops

ALBANY, N.Y. (WTEN) – A group of New York State Assembly officials wants to ensure all travelers can access every restaurant operating at rest stops along the New York State Thruway, seven days a week.

It’s not an issue for most of the rest-stop eateries, but it does single out one: Chick-fil-A, which operates at seven of the Thruway’s 27 rest stops.

The bill’s sponsor and co-sponsors are now aiming to prevent further food-service contracts at Thruway stops from closing during busy travel days.

“While there is nothing objectionable about a fast food restaurant closing on a particular day of the week, service areas dedicated to travelers is an inappropriate location for such a restaurant,” the justification for the proposed bill reads, after calling out Chick-fil-A specifically. “Publicly owned service areas should use their space to maximally benefit the public. Allowing for retail space to go unused one seventh of the week or more is a disservice and unnecessary inconvenience to travelers who rely on these service areas.”

Assemblyman Tony Simone, who sponsored the bill, told Nexstar’s WTEN that restaurants operating along the highway system should be open to travelers on Sunday, “one of the busiest travel days of the week.”

“You know, we get hungry when we’re traveling. We may not like our brother-in-law or sister-in-law’s cooking and wanna get a snack on Christmas Eve,” Simone said. “To find one of the restaurants closed on the Thruway is just not in the public good.”

The bill, however, only seeks to impose the stipulation for “future” food concessions, according to its language. A Thruway official who spoke with WTEN also said Chick-fil-A had already signed a 33-year contract with the highway system.

Still, Simone feels that Sunday closures do a disservice to travelers.

“Well, the Thruways are meant to serve New York travelers first,” Simone said. “And I think it’s ridiculous that you’re able to close on Sunday — one of the busiest travel days of the week.”

Assemblyman Simone is seeking to recruit additional co-sponsors for the bill before the upcoming legislative session in Albany.

Nexstar has reached out to Chick-fil-A for comment.

Source: Fox 8 News Channel

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