New Legislation Could Change Chick-fil-A’s Operations

New York lawmakers are pushing for legislation that would mandate food-service companies operating at rest areas and transportation facilities along the New York State Thruway to remain open seven days a week. The proposed law, spearheaded by Assemblymember Tony Simone, a Democrat representing areas including Chelsea, the theater district, and midtown Manhattan, would impact the operations of popular fast-food chain Chick-fil-A, known for its policy of closing on Sundays.

The New York State Thruway, a nearly 500-mile-long highway connecting New York City to Buffalo, is a major transportation artery. The proposed legislation would ensure that travelers have access to food services every day of the week. The law would apply to public transportation facilities, including thruway rest areas, service areas, and welcome centers. However, temporary concessions or events such as farmers’ markets, flea markets, or local vendors would be exempt from the bill.

The proposed law specifically mentions Chick-fil-A as a potential issue for travelers seeking food services. The bill argues that while there is no issue with a fast-food restaurant choosing to close on a specific day of the week, service areas dedicated to travelers are not the appropriate location for such a restaurant. The legislation suggests that allowing retail space to remain unused for one-seventh of the week is a disservice to travelers who rely on these service areas.

The bill comes after New York state entered into a contract with a convenience store chain that includes Chick-fil-A among its companies, in relation to the rebuilding of 27 service areas along the Thruway. It remains unclear whether the proposed law would apply to this contract.

The legislation also includes a provision that would extend its application to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, should a similar law be passed in New Jersey.

The bill is co-sponsored by assemblymembers Anna Kelles, MaryJame Shimsky, and Jessica González-Rojas, all Democrats. State Sen. Michelle Hinchey, also a Democrat, is leading the effort in the New York Senate.

Assemblymember Simone expressed his support for the bill on social media, stating that it makes no sense for restaurants at rest stops to be closed on one of the busiest travel days of the week. He criticized Chick-Fil-A for limiting their service to travelers in their contract with the NYS Thruway Authority.

Neither Chick-fil-A nor Simone’s office have responded to requests for comment on the proposed legislation.