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The Wessex Wire

The Wessex Wire

NEWS COMMENTARY: New law proposed to keep select Chick-fil-A locations open on Sundays

Photo Courtesy of Mike Mozart (CC BY 2.0 DEED)
Chick-fil-As along the Thruway and Port Authoritys in New Jersey and New York are set to be the subject of this new law.

A new law is currently in the works to keep select Chick-fil-A locations open on Sundays. The New York State Assembly has proposed the Rest Stop Restaurant Act, a policy that would mandate all restaurants and food providers along rest stops to be open and accessible 7 days a week. Applegreen, the company remodeling rest stops along the Thruway and the Port Authority in New Jersey and New York, is set to open 10 Chick-fil-As across their 2,988 rest stops,ll of which would be affected by this bill. 

According to ABC News, the bill states that “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.” Despite this, Chick-fil-A has a signed contract with Applegreen specifically stating that the company would be allowed to operate within normal hours. 

Though this new bill would benefit travelers, it violates several enumerated rights on behalf of both Applegreen and Chick-fil-A. Applegreen is a private enterprise that is responsible for the rest stops and the restaurants in them, and is not actually affiliated with the state. The state does not technically have the jurisdiction to tell the company what to do. Applegreen can delegate the restaurants to the rest stops as they intend and the state cannot mandate how they should go about this. Applegreen has signed a 33 year contract to operate these rest stops and despite what state lawmakers try to do to meddle within these parameters, Applegreen holds the ultimate responsibility. 

Opening Chick-fil-As along these rest stops on Sundays also raises an ethical question of government intervention and religious beliefs. Many argue that this new bill is a violation of Chick-fil-A’s religious freedom, and that the state cannot force a private company to sacrifice their religious beliefs for a law. Chick-fil-A famously closes all locations on Sundays for days of rest and worship, and rightfully so, the company is exercising this freedom of religion. Despite the needs of travelers, the government cannot step in and manipulate this right, and should respect these boundaries instead of trying to bend them. 

While the situation is not ideal for travelers, Applegreen and Chick-fil-A, the need for legislation could be reduced if Applegreen would consider adding multiple food options to each rest stop in order to not be solely reliant on Chick-fil-As. Regardless, the bill proposed violates several rights both companies are entitled to, and without compromise, could cause even more turmoil in New York and New Jersey. 

Photo Credit: “Chick-fil-A” by Mike Mozart is licensed under CC BY 2.0 DEED.

Behind the Byline
Gabby Angelo, Editor in Chief
Gabrielle Angelo, but you can call her Gabby, is an Editor in Chief for the 2023-2024 Wessex Wire. She enjoys spending time down the shore swimming in the ocean, eating ice cream and watching the sunsets, and loves anything  "The Vampire Diaries" related! On the weekends you can find her hanging out with friends and family making core memories.  
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