NY pool halls successfully sue to reopen

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NEW YORK — A group of 16 New York pool halls that sued the state to reopen received preliminary injunction relief and are now allowed to reopen.

The ruling from the state of New York applies only to pool halls that joined this lawsuit.

The effort was led by Amsterdam Billiards in Manhattan. They plan to reopen next week.

Billiards halls were left off the list of establishments that could reopen when New York began to open up from the pandemic late last summer.

The owner of Amsterdam Billiards is thrilled to be reopening this Wednesday. It’s been 10 long months since Greg Hunt has had a pool cue in his hands.

But now, Hunt says he’s finally feeling lucky, happy and more than a little relieved.

“It’s been extremely tough for our 35 employees who have been living on $350 or $400 a week unemployment insurance with families,” Hunt said.

Just over 24 hours ago, a judge in upstate New York ruled that 16 New York pool halls that had sued the state to reopen can do just that as long as COVID-19 safety protocols are in place.

“We have a 10-point COVID protocol that all the pool halls in New York City has adopted,”Hunt added. “We are now just as safe as bowling alleys and casinos and every other form of indoor recreation.”

Among the many COVID-19 safety protocols for pool halls: They must operate at only 50 percent capacity, masks at all times, six foot social distance markers, no food or alcohol, deep cleaning as well as temperature checks, contact tracing and hand sanitizing stations.

“We spray the hell out of it, excuse my French,” Hunt said. “Out of the equipment, the pool balls, the cues. It takes about five minutes,” he added.

Amsterdam Billiards is a 30-year-old institution with 11,000 square feet on East 11th Street and Fourth Avenue with 27 tables, averaging $9 per person per hour and there’s even room for rank beginners like yours truly.

PIX11 News’ Cristian Benavides also contributed to this story.

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