Two New York state lawmakers have introduced legislation requiring restaurants and shops operating in the New York State Thruway’s rest stop service areas to remain open seven days a week, including Chick-fil-A, a Christian-owned company famous for staying closed on Sundays, WGRZ reported.
Chick-fil-A is contracted to open restaurants in ten of the 27 NYS Thruway rest stops as part of a redevelopment project. The company has a well-known policy of staying closed on Sundays to allow its workers “to enjoy a day of rest” and “worship if they choose.”
In a statement to Spectrum News’ “Capital Tonight,” a spokesperson for the New York State Thruway Authority said the new 33-year contract with Applegreen to manage the rest stop facilities requires that there be at least one hot food and one cold food option available at all 27 locations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
However, Chick-fil-A’s policy of remaining closed on Sundays was factored into Applegreen’s tenant plan. As a result, all of the rest stops where Chick-fil-A will have a restaurant will include between one and three other “food concept” locations as well as a convenience store that will all be open seven days a week.
Despite the accommodations in place, New York Assemblyman Tony Simone and state Senator Michelle Hinchey, both Democrats, have introduced legislation to ensure that any future vendor contracts at facilities owned by the New York Thruway Authority must include a requirement to operate seven days a week, with exceptions for temporary vendors like farmers markets.
The legislation argues that since the thruway rest stops are publicly-owned service areas, the state should require that their space is used to “maximally benefit the public.” It maintains that permitting retail space to go unused on Sunday would be a “disservice” to travelers and an “unnecessary inconvenience” to those who rely on the rest stop service areas.
However, even if the legislation is passed and signed into law, it would not affect Chick-fil-A’s current contract with New York’s Service Area Redesign and Redevelopment project since the measure would only apply to future contracts, the Democrat & Chronicle reported.