Chick-fil-A locations operating at rest stops along New York State’s 500-mile Thruway could in the future be required to remain open seven days a week — effectively forcing the chain to keep some locations open on Sundays, according to a new bill from New York lawmakers.
The bill, introduced earlier this month, would require restaurants operating in the state highway system’s rest areas to remain open every day of the week. The measure is at odds with Chick-fil-A’s policy of closing Sundays and letting workers “worship if they choose.”
“While there is nothing objectionable about a fast food restaurant closing on a particular day of the week, service areas dedicated to travelers [are] an inappropriate location for such a restaurant,” states the bill, which noted that Chick-fil-A already operates at seven of the Thruway’s 27 service areas.
Chick-fil-A did not respond to a request for comment on the measure.
The bill wouldn’t extend to other Chick-fil-A locations in the state, or even to the seven locations already open at Thruway service areas. It also excludes temporary concessions such as farmer’s markets.
Some Republican lawmakers are pushing back against the New York bill, with South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham calling the proposal “insanity” on social media.
“This is a blatant violation of the company’s constitutional rights, and we’re not going to let that happen without a fight,” the senatorsaidin a video posted to X, formerly Twitter, showing himself outside a Chick-fil-A restaurant in Manhattan. “Lend your voice and tell NY to keep their hands off our Chick-fil-A!”
The bill’s sponsor, assembly member Tony Simone, questioned why Graham was “inserting himself in a state bill in a state that he doesn’t represent.” Had Graham read his bill, “he would know that the legislation would not affect current Chick-fil-A locations, and certainly has nothing to do with the midtown locations where he has enjoyed his lunch the past couple of days,” Simone told CBS MoneyWatch in emailed comments.
The ruffled feathers, however, may be just that, as Chick-fil-A’s Thruway locations are already locked in. Chick-fil-A has signed a 33-year contract with the highway system, and the brand’s Sunday closure was “factored into their tenant plan,” a Thruway spokesperson told CBS MoneyWatch in an emailed statement.