Chick-fil-A could soon open on Sundays in some locations

(NEW YORK) — The famously “closed on Sundays” chicken sandwich fast-food chain could soon be required to fire up the fryers and serve hungry travelers in some locations.

The New York State Assembly has put forth a new bill, known as the Rest Stop Restaurant Act, that would require food and beverage companies contracted to provide services along the Thruway and at the Port Authority in New York and New Jersey to stay open seven days a week.

Applegreen, an Irish convenience store chain with a portfolio of companies including Chick-fil-A, took over the leases of all Thruway Authority service areas in 2021. To date, Chick-fil-A has opened at seven Thruway service areas. The fast-food chain currently operates 2,988 restaurants across 48 states.

“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 bill states, in part. “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 only exception from the seven-day-a-week operations mandate in the new legislation is for “temporary concessions such as farmers markets or local vendors.”

One of the bill’s sponsors, Assemblyman Tony Simone, spoke to ABC News Albany affiliate WTEN-TV about the importance of ensuring that New York State’s transportation facilities offer reliable food services.

“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.”

WTEN also reports that a Thruway official who also spoke with them said that, regarding the bill, “all 27 service areas that were a part of the $450 million project were built with no toll or tax dollars and that Chick-fil-A already signed a 33-year contract with the Thruway.”

Simone clarified that “the Thruways are meant to serve New York travelers first,” adding that he thinks it’s “ridiculous” that a food provider would be “able to close on Sunday – one of the busiest travel days of the week.”

Simone and the other bill sponsors are currently seeking co-sponsors to help pass the legislation during the current assembly session in Albany.

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