Since opening its first restaurant in 1946, Chick-fil-A has famously kept its doors closed on Sundays. However, that 77-year-old policy could soon change with the introduction of a new bill in New York.
Last week, the New York State Assembly proposed the Rest Stop Restaurant Act, which would require food and beverage companies along the New York State Thruway to stay open seven days a week. Chick-fil-A currently operates seven locations on the Thruway and has three more scheduled to be built.
"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," Bill A08336 reads. "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 travers who rely on these service areas."
The bill would also require food and beverage services at the Port Authority in New York and New Jersey to stay open seven days a week. However, this legislation would exclude "temporary concessions like farmers markets or local vendors."
Applegreen, an Irish convenience store chain, took over the leases of the companies on the Thruway in 2021. Also noted in the newly proposed bill is the New York State Thruway Authority's Service Area Redesign and Redevelopment Project, which is rebuilding 27 service areas on the Thruway through a private-public partnership. Chick-fil-A signed a 33-year contract with the Thruway, as reported by WTEN.
The new bill is being sponsored by Assemblyman Tony Simone, who currently has three other co-sponsors.
"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 told WTEN. "To find one of the restaurants closed on the thruway is just not in the public good."
Simone said the Thruways "are meant to serve New York travelers first," adding, "I think it's ridiculous you're able to close on Sunday—one of the busiest travel days of the week."
The Rest Stop Restaurant Act needs to pass both houses of the legislature before being sent to the governor.
Keeping Chick-fil-A closed on Sundays was established in 1946 by the chain's founder Truett Cathy, who implemented this policy for religious reasons.
Chick-fil-A did not immediately respond to our request for comment.