Assemblymember Simone and Senator Hinchey Announce Bill to Require Rest Stop Restaurants to Open 7 Days a Week

New bill assures the availability of crucial services for New York State motorists

New York – As travelers plan their holiday travel this December, Assemblymember Tony Simone announced a bill he has introduced with State Senator Michelle Hinchey, A.8336/S.7794, to ensure that restaurants in rest stops on the New York State Thruway and in Port Authority of New York & New Jersey facilities are open seven days a week.

The New York State Thruway Authority’s Service Area Redesign and Redevelopment Project is currently rebuilding the 27 service areas along the Thruway. The traveling public and commercial trucking industry rely on these service areas to rest, refuel and to purchase food and beverages. A new operator of restaurants in service areas along the thruway is Chick-fil-A, which by company policy is closed on Sundays. 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. The Rest Stop Restaurant Act will require that companies that are contracted to provide food and beverage service along the Thruway and at the Port Authority of NY/NJ remain open seven days a week, to serve the needs of their customers.

“On Sunday, Christmas Eve, thousands of New Yorkers will travel to their families and find closed restaurants at rest areas across the state,” said Assemblymember Tony Simone. “Not only does Chick-Fil-A have a long shameful history of opposing LGBTQ rights, it simply makes no sense for them to be a provider of food services in busy travel plazas. Drivers are on the Thruway on Sundays. People take the bus and go to the airport on Sundays. A company, that by policy, is closed on one of the busiest travel days of the week should not be the company that travelers have to rely on for food services. This bill ensures that travelers have access to the services they need to travel comfortably.”

Senator Michelle Hinchey said, “Whether you’re a family or a solo traveler, rest stops are an essential amenity for food services, and we need to ensure that they remain reliable hubs, especially on the busiest travel days of the year. If one of the main food options closes for just one day, it not only inconveniences travelers but also puts a significant strain on the food spots that are open, leading to longer wait times. The Rest Stop Restaurant Act will help ensure uninterrupted access to New York rest stops, providing people with the consistent reliability they need from these facilities.”

State Senator Brad Hoylman-Sigal said, “The Thruway and Port Authority of NY/NJ are one of the busiest rest stops in the country. It’s essential that the eateries located at these rest points support the thousands of drivers that need to rest and recharge along their routes. I applaud Assembly Member Simone and Senator Hinchey for introducing the Rest Stop Restaurant Act to ensure New York is properly providing for our drivers and their families.”

Assembly Member O'Donnell said, "Service Areas are an integral part of New York's interstate system. They offer a dependable location for travelers to recharge and grab a bite to eat. However, even a single day's closure of these retail spaces can greatly affect those who rely on them. The Rest Stop Restaurant Act will ensure that travelers can consistently access these services and fully depend on these facilities without interruption."

“As a global center of tourism New York should send the message that all people are welcome here. Chick-Fil-A has promoted bigoted and discriminatory messaging and we should not be in the business of providing them more space to do so. I fully support Assembly member Simone’s bill and its passage. Chick-Fil-A cannot stay,” said Assembly Member Jessica González-Rojas.